The message from Port Adelaide’s defeat at the hands of the Western Bulldogs is clear for Ken Hinkley: the Power are a good team, not a great one.
Not yet at least.
Port trailed by just one point at halftime on Saturday night and mounted a late surge early in the final term before falling to a 15.6 (96) to 12.5 (77) loss at Adelaide Oval – their first in five home games this season.
Despite the loss to another premiership contender, Hinkley sees no need to lower expectations of a deep finals run by last year’s minor premier.
“We’re capable of being a great team … we’ve shown that,” Hinkley said.
“We’re a good team but to win the whole comp you’ve got to be a great team and at the moment we’re improving and working really hard to be great.
“I’ve got great confidence that we can be that team by the end of 2021, there’s no doubt.
“These are just moments where you get to reset, have a look, explore and understand what you need to do.
“We know exactly what we need to continue to work at.
“It would be different if I didn’t know but the team and I are 100 per cent certain about what we need to do to become great.”
Hinkley pinpointed his players’ need to maintain a high level of intensity around contested possession as the key area they must improve to achieve the greatness they crave.
Saturday night’s loss was further soured by the loss of star defender Tom Clurey, who was subbed out in the second quarter and sent to hospital after a head clash with Mitch Hannan.
“It looks like he’s probably got a broken jaw, but we’ll wait and see,” Hinkley said.
“Tom’s speaking and all that … it was just a whack right in the front of the face that might put him in some significant doubt for a little while.”
Easton Wood is set for a stint on the sidelines. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
The Western Bulldogs’ belief-building win over Port Adelaide has come at a cost with fears important defender Easton Wood has suffered a significant hamstring injury.
Wood, whose pre-season preparation was disrupted by a hamstring injury, hobbled from the ground in the first quarter and is set for a stint on the sidelines.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been here many times before,” Wood told Channel 7.
“It just sort of went on me in the open field, which is never great.
“So we’ll have a look on Monday and hopefully the damage isn’t too bad, but I might be having a little rest for a little while.”
Luke Beveridge confirmed the former skipper will undergo scans on his left hamstring in Melbourne, the premiership coach resigned to losing the veteran for a period.
“Hopefully it’s not as bad as some of the other ones that he’s done,” Beveridge said.
“Competition for spots (in defence) is healthy so we should be able to cover him, as much as Easton is an outstanding player … we’ll look forward to him coming back.”
Wood’s injury was a rare lowlight in a high-quality contest between the premiership contenders.
Marcus Bontempelli was outstanding for the Dogs with 26 possessions and two goals, with Caleb Daniel, Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae all prominent in the win that improved their side’s record to 8-1.
“(This) will do wonders for the belief of the group,” Beveridge said.
“The importance of these experiences can’t be undersold.
“They definitely had our measure for a little while and I think the players find encouragement in believing in what they’re trying to do together.
“Against a team like Port on their home deck, where they’ve been significantly strong and don’t drop many, we can definitely bank that and feel good about it.
“Hopefully it’s an experience that as we continue on will help us.”
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