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Port turns to Hinkley

Date

Ashley Porter and Michael Cowley

Ken Hinkley.

Ken Hinkley. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

In a dramatic day of changing fortunes, Port Adelaide is set to revert to option three as coach — former Fitzroy and Geelong defender and current Gold Coast assistant coach Ken Hinkley.

The move may also pave the way for former Carlton coach Brett Ratten to be appointed as an assistant to Guy McKenna at the Suns. The irony is that Matthew Primus, who was dumped by Port, has joined the Suns as their midfield coach.

Earlier last night, it was revealed that Greater Western Sydney had sneaked under Port's guard and signed Hawthorn assistant coach Leon Cameron to a deal that will result in  him succeeding Kevin Sheedy as head coach of the new club from the 2014 season.

Port Adelaide had hoped Cameron would be the man to sign a long-term deal as its head coach some time this week, but after meeting with Giants chairman Tony Shepherd, chief executive David Matthews and Sheedy himself — who has played a role in selecting his successor — Cameron accepted the Sydney club's offer.

The Giants offered Cameron a four-year contract. The first year he will serve as senior assistant to Sheedy, the role that former Port coach Mark Williams had in 2012, and then the following three years he will lead the club as senior coach.

The Power has been keen to appoint a coach with experience — Rodney Eade and Ratten were the prime candidates — and failing that, it was looking for an experienced assistant coach.

Having gone through the process and sounded out  Cameron, the panel selected to find Port’s answer again looked to Hinkley and is extremely close to finalising an agreement, possibly tomorrow.

Port officials last night declined to comment on the pending appointment other than to say that an announcement was still expected tomorrow or early next week.

Hinkley, 46, is far from being on a "who's left" category as many may believe given the fact other key candidates have rejected Port’s offer. He was named by The Age as a priority target the day it was announced Primus would not continue in the role.

Given Port's off-field uncertainty and drama, including implementing a virtually new board, plus the grief that continues following the death of player John McCarthy, Hinkley shapes as an excellent choice.

As a player, he was a brilliant half-back, winning Geelong's best and fairest in 1992 and All-Australian selection in 1991 and '92. He played 132 games from 1987-95. As an assistant coach at St Kilda, Geelong and Gold Coast, he was highly regarded, and in recent months has been highly recommended by Malcolm Blight.

Port established a panel to find a new coach, headed by David Parkin as an advisor, plus Peter Schwab, AFL director of coaching and a former coach at Hawthorn, Geelong premiership captain Tom Harley, Port vice-chairman Kevin Osborn, club CEO Keith Thomas and football manager Peter Rohde. The Harley-Hinkley Geelong connection cannot be dismissed in this equation.

This week, Port Adelaide has lost Danyle Pearce, and Troy Chaplin could follow. The Power announced yesterday it would not match Fremantle’s offer for Pearce, the 2006 Rising Star winner.

Like Pearce, Chaplin is  a restricted free agent and the Power has until this afternoon to decide whether it will match Richmond’s offer for the key defender.

Port's financial woes and poor on-field form has made it particularly vulnerable in the new free-agency system.

Rohde said the club had made a call on Pearce first because his situation was much more clear-cut.

"We got the Pearce one earlier ... we had more time to consider that," Rohde told AFL Trade Radio.

"To be more honest, it's a bit more cut-and-dried, to match the offer that Fremantle put up was really not an option for us."

With AAP

29 comments

  • Can't believe that Matthew Knights has not been interviewed for the gig. Unfairly "shafted" at Essendon and has just handed Geelong VFL a Premiership! Great record for developing the kids and Port need to rebuild big time.

    Commenter
    andyroos
    Location
    Ringwood
    Date and time
    October 04, 2012, 7:46AM
    • Knights and Port already have 'form' together. It would be one of the reasons PAFC is shy of 'junior' Vic coaches.

      Commenter
      Craig More
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 9:32AM
    • Why leave a great club like Geelong, lots of money for player development, going places for a basket case like Port, no money, few good players and no direction.

      Commenter
      tom
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 9:41AM
    • Knights was hopeless at Essendon. You can't have respect for a bloke who was a sheepdog player.

      Thing with Port is, Hinkley will have no support from the board either as he is only being employed because nobody else wanted the job, and they are having a mass exodus of players.

      Hinkley will do a good job imo though.

      Commenter
      azzos
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 9:43AM
    • Totally agree with you andyroos matty knights was a good coach who was axed in order to secure the coaching 'dream team' at essendon which has interestingly advanced the bombers nowhere since they took over. Having said that Hinkley will be a great coach

      Commenter
      matty
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 10:36AM
    • Knights was sacked because his style caused friction in the club and not everyone agreed with his game plans.
      He is doing great things at Geelong, so why leave?
      Hinkley is the best option available, and in no disrespect to him, I can't understand why Port havent chased down the likes of Gary Ayres??

      Commenter
      sirocheable
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 11:17AM
    • You forget @andyroos that Knights was senior coach at Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL a couple of years back and given the flick. There is absolutely no chance he would have been considered for the Port job, and he probably wouldn't have been interested anyway.

      Commenter
      Kempy
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 11:58AM
    • Knights was sacked because half the board wanted sheedy kept on and were against the Knights program from day 1. Knights took a rabble to play finals in his first year coaching and his record in his two seasons is not dissimilar to Hirds.

      Commenter
      Mick
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 12:16PM
  • Hinkley would be a great choice, but not Knights. Failed at the Port Magpies in SANFL and failed at Essendon. No thanks.

    Commenter
    Matthew
    Location
    Klemzig
    Date and time
    October 04, 2012, 8:57AM
    • I agree Hinkley will do well and has the chance to build up a team. Hope the other problems at Port settle down we want another competitive club

      Commenter
      Irisdon
      Location
      Grenfell NSW
      Date and time
      October 04, 2012, 11:51AM

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