Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says axing five of his AFL players shows he’s lost patience, but not faith.
With the Power out of finals contention, Hinkley dumped vice-captain Matthew Lobbe and four others for Saturday’s home game against Greater Western Sydney.
“You can’t accept the way we played last week and unfortunately some of the boys have had to pay a price,” Hinkley told reporters on Friday.
The cull comes as Hinkley and Port grapple with sitting 12th, destined to miss the finals in a season they were tipped as flag fancies.
“I am responsible for the team performance and I don’t shy away from that,” Hinkley said.
“I have got to make sure that I get the team back to performing at the level they are capable of.
“No-one takes more responsibility at this football club than me and that is the way it should be.”
Hinkley dumped Lobbe, Tom Clurey, Andrew Moore, Sam Colquhoun and Aaron Young for Saturday’s Adelaide Oval encounter with the Giants.
Hinkley said Lobbe’s ruck partnership with recruit Paddy Ryder, hyped pre-season as a trump card, was failing to deliver.
“Not as consistent as we’d like,” Hinkley said of the tandem.
“Clearly the partnership will be seen at its best when the team is at its best. Our footy team this year hasn’t been at its best.”
But Hinkley was adamant he knew how to fix Port’s problems – he was just uncertain when the solution would show.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said.
“I’m willing to tell you, it’s about where we started – it’s about being team first and being a defensive team and being really hard to play against.
“They are the things we are going to get back. Will we get them back immediately? No promises.
“But the focus will be to get them back.”
The Giants remain in the finals hunt but have been weakened by injury for their trip.
GWS, in 10th position but just a win behind sixth spot, will be without key midfielders Tom Scully (shoulder), Stephen Coniglio (concussion) and Adam Treloar (groin) and have summoned Jack Steele, Tomas Bugg and Zac Williams as replacements.