Unable to accompany his team due to a virus, Power coach Ken Hinkley will be able to communicate by phone with the coaching box throughout the game. Photo: Getty Images
In the rare position of being without its regular head coach on match day, Port Adelaide has confirmed that AFL rules permit Ken Hinkley to communicate with his assistants throughout Saturday's contest and also allow him to address the team pre-game and at half-time.
Hinkley has heeded doctors orders that he should not fly from Adelaide to Tasmania for the Power's clash with North Melbourne in Hobart due to a viral infection that hospitalised him on Wednesday, and will watch the match from afar.
While AFL rules prohibit club officials from communicating with mobile telephones on the arena during games - introduced chiefly to guard against corrupt activity - they do not restrict communication between the coach's box and the outside world.
On checking the regulations, Port was confident Hinkley would be allowed to speak directly with his offsiders in the coach's box during play and confirmed this with the AFL on Friday.
AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said: ''The rules don't prohibit a coach, or anyone, using a mobile phone in the coach's box. If they wish to have communication with Ken about something from the coach's box that will be OK. But they don't have the capacity to take the communication device out to the huddle at quarter-time or at three-quarter-time.''
Alan Richardson is assuming senior coaching duties in Hinkley's absence, but Hinkley will have a hotline to the box in Hobart through the mobile phone of football operations manager Peter Rohde. ''Alan and the assistant coaches will be running everything, moment by moment, but we'll be able to be in touch with Ken and on the line to him when we need to,'' Rohde said.
''Anything that he's seeing, or that he wants to bring up, he'll pass through me and I'll speak to the coaches about it.
''In reality, we probably want to be able to have it all functioning without any input from Ken, but he'll be able to have some input if he feels like he wants to or needs to.''