Less than 48 hours after a disappointing end to the season it appears Port Adelaide are poised to hand Ken Hinkley a contract extension until the end of 2020.
CEO Keith Thomas gave every indication on SEN radio yesterday that a new contract was in the works for the senior coach. “We feel as a whole club that we perhaps missed an opportunity this year, but we're certainly on a track that we're confident about and I'm pretty sure we'll be able to sort it all out pretty quickly”
The loss to West Coast in extraordinary circumstances was the first time the Power has lost a finals game to a lower ranked finalist since 2003.
While an in-depth review of both the game and season will take place in the coming days the timing of a possible contract extension is certainly interesting.
Already under contract
The former Geelong and Gold Coast assistant is already contracted until the end of next year but rumours have been circulating the Gold Coast Suns will make contact with Hinkley about returning to the club as the senior coach.
Whether there is any truth to this or not there is no reason for Port Adelaide to fast-track a new deal. The on-field performance next year should be part of the equation the Power hierarchy use to justify a contract extension.
If Port Adelaide were to not win a final next year it will be four years without a finals win. To have a coach signed on for another two years beyond this would be questionable.
Where did it go wrong in the Elimination Final
Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what went wrong against the Eagles. From team selection, tactics, poor skills, goal kicking, bad luck. Of course umpires are always in the firing line after a narrow loss such as the final free kick that saw Luke Shuey kick the winning goal.
It may very well be a combination of all of the above. Chairman David Koch may have summed it up best by simply saying “we blew it”
Koch himself has come under fire for comments made after the game with some comments about selection and players performance which has certainly been blown out of proportion.
Would it have been preferable had Koch said nothing? Maybe. But the day PAFC management are criticised for not patting players and coaches on the back for making the finals and losing is the day the club might as well throw out the Creed.
Is 2017 a pass or a fail?
After failing to play finals in 2005 &16 the 2017 season was certainly an improvement from a win/loss perspective. Port finished the home and away season in 5th position with 14 wins.
Unable to perform against the top eight teams throughout the year certainly an issue that has been discussed in detail and is a discussion point that will certainly continue.
The Power had a dream fixture and minimal injuries in comparison to many other teams and it is hard to imagine getting such a favourable run in 2018.
In the words of Keith Thomas “It is a pass this season but barely that”
Let’s see how season 2018 plays out
Ken Hinkley is well respected within the four walls at Alberton and many supporters are likely to support a decision extending his tenure. Very few are advocating Ken Hinkley should lose his job but simply waiting for next season to transpire before rewarding the coach with a new deal seems a common sense approach.
The issues that have plagued the Power for the last three years has not been addressed. Poor disposal, decision making and conversion.
Is the above all down to the senior coach? Of course not, but the coach takes quite a lot of responsibility for on-field performance. A magnitude of work needs to be done in the off-season because these obvious deficiencies have simply not improved.
The Port Adelaide supporter base is rightfully hurting after Saturday night and emotions are still running high given the nature of the loss that has ended the season.
Now is the time to analyse the season accordingly and not rush into making a decision on the coach beyond next year .