It’s been the talking point among Port Adelaide fans for the past few years, but Ken Hinkley has extended his deal with the club for a further two years, until 2023.
Hinkley’s last extension was following the 2017 Elimination Final loss to West Coast, which had many Port fans questioning the decision, and even more so after two more years in the wilderness.
However, the 2018 and 2019 seasons need to be looked at differently.
The 2018 season, the club threw the kitchen sink at chasing its second AFL premiership, recruiting Tom Rockliff, Jack Watts, Steven Motlop, Jack Trengove, Trent McKenzie and Lindsay Thomas to bolster its depth.
After a successful start, the club fell to miss the finals and finished 10th.
The Hinkley haters need to realise as well, the following season, as it turfed plenty of experience to other clubs and focused on the draft, the club finished 10th again.
The youth development, while complimenting the experienced Robbie Gray, Travis Boak and Charlie Dixon has been remarkable.
Port Adelaide debuted Williem Drew, Xavier Duursma, Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, Peter Ladhams and Joel Garner throughout 2019, and four of the six featured regularly in 2020.
Hinkley entered 2020, off the back of extreme pressure and another missed opportunity for finals footy, stating the club was aiming to win the premiership that year.
That was pre-COVID, and Port Adelaide remained at the top of the AFL ladder for the entire season, losing just three times.
It was a better game plan, more attacking football which we saw in 2014.
It was smarter and composed footy, and Rozee and Butters will be showing that for the next decade.
At his press conference today, Ken Hinkley again doubled down on his premiership views.
“Absolutely. 100 per cent. We have put ourselves in a great position. We plan on having a winning season. At Port Adelaide, that means a premiership,” he said.
“It gives me an enormous amount of pride that the club as a whole believes in us as a football program.”
It’s a Port Adelaide way of approaching things. It’s the way it should be.
With more games into the youth in 2021 and if Port keeps the same trajectory, number two in the AFL and number 38 overall isn’t far away.