JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Hinkley just the right man to flick switch on Power

Ken Hinkley in his playing days.

Ken Hinkley in his playing days. Photo: Stuart Hannagan

It was 1985 and Fitzroy had been thrown off the Junction Oval. Home games were now played at Victoria Park, where the Lions were made to feel left out in the cold by Collingwood. Forget about being co-tenants; we soon found out we were unwanted guests. Training sessions were held on the dimly-lit, boggy Northcote football ground and requests to train at Victoria Park were continually knocked back.

Having made the finals the previous two seasons, we were now having a losing run and my mood as coach darkened further when this skinny, 18-year-old lad from Camperdown, who had all the skills in the world, didn't embrace my offer to become a Fitzroy player. His name was Ken Hinkley and he was in the Lions' recruiting zone.

I can remember being in the change rooms at Northcote, trying to sell what a great opportunity it would be for him to leave the bush and be a star. But he didn't want any of it. He hated the city, probably thought Fitzroy's prospects were bleak and told me he wasn't buying my sell. I was annoyed with the response but secretly admired his strength of stance.

As it turned out, I left Fitzroy and a year later the Camperdown kid decided to come and give it a go. He only lasted two seasons with the Lions, played a total of 11 games and, from a half-forward flank, kicked 20 goals.

Being unhappy in Melbourne, a deal was done to clear Hinkley to Geelong. That made him much happier, and happy footballers tend to play well. His new coach, Malcolm Blight, gave Hinkley a fresh challenge by playing him across the half-back line. He excelled. He read the play to perfection, took intercept marks, ran and carried the ball with grace and speed. He was named an All-Australian defender in 1991 and 1992, came third in the Brownlow and played in three grand finals, albeit losing ones.

A desire to coach led Hinkley to clubs in country Victoria. A stint at St Kilda with Blight was short-lived, but then came the lengthy assistant role at Geelong where he taught the likes of Gary Ablett, Jimmy Bartel, Steve Johnson, Corey Enright and Matthew Scarlett how to be premiership players. That led to a two-year role mentoring the kids at the Gold Coast. Finally, a senior role became possible when a desperate Port Adelaide decided to appoint its first "outside" coach since Fos Williams arrived in 1950.

And what a great decision it has been. The Power looked a mess nine months ago. Favourite son Matthew Primus had been sacked as coach. It had won just one of its last 12 games in 2012. Home crowds were low. Senior players such as Troy Chaplin and Danyle Pearce left for greener pastures and, tragically, midfielder John McCarthy died on an end-of-season trip to Las Vegas.

But things took a turn for the better when the heavily courted Travis Boak decided to stay. Geelong was desperate for the Torquay boy to join its ranks, but for Boak to say no to Chris Scott, Joel Selwood and co when they flew into Adelaide to make their pitch says a lot about him. Now, as captain, his on-field leadership is first rate.

A president with profile was also needed. Enter David Koch. He has drawn supporters and sponsors to the club. Membership for the first time has exceeded 40,000. Koch, when first appointed, said he would be a low-profile president. With the club success and the spotlight on him, I hope he stays true to his word.

But what most of us didn't know was that the Port Adelaide list wasn't as bad as we thought. It is the third-youngest list in the AFL and it is stacked with players who were first-round draft picks. So there is talent. The recruiters have done a good job, but it was the fitness and development of the talent that was sub-standard. To remedy that, one of the best fitness conditioners in the world, Darren Burgess, was lured from the Liverpool Football Club to oversee the program. Also brought in to fast-track the development of young players was Alan Richardson, recognised as one of the best teachers of young talent through his work at Collingwood, Essendon, the Western Bulldogs and Carlton.

The results have been startling. Eleven wins have Port in the top eight. The club's stirring win last Sunday to beat the Crows was the most enjoyable and exciting game I've seen this season. It was one of five narrow wins this season, proving there is great fighting spirit.

At the start of the season, Port Adelaide had three main objectives. The first was to restore its credibility in the AFL. Tick. The second was to play a style of football that would bring the crowds back. The exciting, brave, bold, risk-taking football has done that.

The third objective was to deliver hope for the move from AAMI Stadium to the Adelaide Oval, which will occur next year. A new wave of young guns will make their mark for Port Adelaide at this exciting new venue. Names we will get to appreciate will be Chad Wingard, Hamish Hartlett, Ollie Wines, Matthew Lobbe, Jasper Pittard, Andrew Moore and John Butcher. All were first-round draft picks and all look destined to bring a lot of joy to the Port faithful.

2 comments so far

  • Congratulations to Port for their fightback this year! Arguably now the most exciting team in the AFL to watch.

    Watch out Vics, nothing inspires the Crows (with 3X the supporter base of the Power) more than a successful Port Adelaide. SA footy is on the rise.

    Commenter
    Viv R
    Location
    Adelaide
    Date and time
    August 09, 2013, 10:39AM
    • Thanks for the article Robert! Not bad indeed for a columnist who, on Adelaide radio, expressed the thought Port would finish last in 2013. Not bad for Port which had the third hardest draw (after Hawthorn and Collingwood) in 2012 and were beset badly by injuries. On the Monday after the loss to GWS last year Port had 18 players on that list including 8 players in the leadership group. And no I do not barrack for Port; I barrack for Freo!!!

      Commenter
      Eagle42
      Location
      Adelaide
      Date and time
      August 09, 2013, 2:39PM

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      AFL 2015

      Round 1
      Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
      CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
      MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
      SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
      BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
      WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
      STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
      ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
      FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
      Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
      HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
      RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
      GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
      COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
      GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
      PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
      GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
      ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
      NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
      CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
      ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
      SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
      NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
      BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
      HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
      GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
      WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
      RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
      Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
      STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
      ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
      GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
      PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
      FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
      Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
      BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
      GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
      WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
      Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
      RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
      SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
      GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
      NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
      WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
      Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
      MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
      STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
      ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
      Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
      WBU vs STK 14:10ES
      GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
      GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
      MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
      FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
      PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
      Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
      HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
      CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
      SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
      WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
      WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
      RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
      BRI vs PTA 16:40G
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
      Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
      STK vs WCE 13:45ES
      GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
      GCF vs COL 16:35MS
      HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
      FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
      MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
      PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
      Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
      MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
      WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
      RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
      ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
      BRI vs STK 13:10G
      COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
      WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 10
      Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
      GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
      ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
      PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
      NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
      STK vs HAW 16:40ES
      Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
      View All Fixtures
      Round 11
      Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
      WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
      NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
      Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
      STK vs MEL 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 12
      Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
      Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
      GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
      WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
      Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
      View All Fixtures
      Round 13
      Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
      FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
      Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
      Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
      BRI vs ADE 16:35G
      STK vs WBU 19:20ES
      Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 14
      Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
      Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
      COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
      Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
      GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
      WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
      MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
      Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs STK 13:10ES
      ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
      FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 15
      Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
      Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
      WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
      NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
      WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
      HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
      BRI vs SYD 16:40G
      View All Fixtures
      Round 16
      Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
      Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
      GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
      COL vs WCE 16:35ES
      SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
      FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
      PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
      STK vs RIC 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 17
      Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
      Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
      ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
      RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
      ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
      BRI vs NTH 19:20G
      Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
      WBU vs COL 13:10ES
      MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
      WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 18
      Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
      Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
      COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
      SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
      CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
      GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
      Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
      ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
      FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 19
      Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
      COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
      WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
      BRI vs GCF 16:35G
      GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
      WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
      GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
      STK vs FRE 16:40ES
      View All Fixtures
      Round 20
      Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
      Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
      NTH vs STK 14:10BA
      PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
      GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
      BRI vs CAR 19:20G
      Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
      WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
      FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 21
      Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
      Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
      COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
      GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
      GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
      STK vs GEE 19:20ES
      ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
      CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
      WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 22
      Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
      Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
      HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
      NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
      ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
      GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
      Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
      STK vs SYD 15:20ES
      FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      Round 23
      Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
      COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
      RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
      HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
      GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
      SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
      MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
      BRI vs WBU 00:00G
      PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
      WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
      AFL 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D % Pts
      Fremantle 5 5 0 0 151.10 20
      Collingwood 5 4 1 0 147.53 16
      Western Bulldogs 5 4 1 0 104.75 16
      Hawthorn 5 3 2 0 149.86 12
      West Coast Eagles 5 3 2 0 145.92 12
      Sydney Swans 5 3 2 0 118.26 12
      Adelaide Crows 5 3 2 0 111.40 12
      GWS Giants 5 3 2 0 102.87 12
      View all
       
      Featured advertisers