Port Adelaide have lost their mojo and coach Ken Hinkley admits it might take bold list changes to get it back.
The Power’s 40-point loss to Melbourne on Saturday night means the side will miss the AFL finals for a second year after falling just three points short of a grand final in 2014.
Port never really looked to be in the contest and came off second-best for both pressure and skills throughout the game.
The loss at Adelaide Oval was made worse by a season-ending hamstring injury to star Chad Wingard and question marks over the health of Charlie Dixon, who looks to be suffering the effects of an ankle injury which had previously kept him sidelined.
“I would imagine it’s a significant hamstring,” Hinkley said of Wingard.
“He obviously won’t play any more football this year.”
Hinkley said he would consider mothballing Dixon for the Power’s remaining games against Adelaide and Gold Coast when the key forward is assessed in coming days.
Describing his players as mentally bruised, Hinkley conceded the Power had lost the attacking flair that had driven their past success.
“We’re second-guessing ourselves because of the mistakes and it takes away your enthusiasm to challenge the game,” he said.
“It shouldn’t but it does.
“You’re uncertain, and whenever you play football with some uncertainty you end up looking like an average football team.
“They’re things that they know they’re capable of and we show it at times but let’s be honest, it’s not enough.
“We’ve got to be a harder football club, a more ruthless football club.”
Hinkley said he would deservedly come under scrutiny for his role in the Power’s decline but believed he could find ways to improve the side.
He said there were signs it would be a particularly active trade period and the Power would need to make “brave” calls on its list.
“We’re unable to compete at the level that we need to be a good AFL team,” he said.
“It would be fair to say that the improvement that needs to come into the group, and hasn’t come into the group thus far, would suggest that there’s some people there that are not capable of getting it to where we need it to be.”