Hinkley bemoans Port’s poor goalkicking

By , Jason Phelan is a Roar Guru

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    There were dozens of sliding doors moments in Port Adelaide’s crushing extra-time loss to West Coast, but the Power are out of the AFL finals because they didn’t kick straight.

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    That was the blunt assessment of coach Ken Hinkley after Luke Shuey’s after-the-siren goal sealed a pulsating 12.6 (78) to 10.16 (76) elimination final win over wayward Port at Adelaide Oval.

    Asked if he could go back do just one thing differently, the shattered coach chose the one issue that haunted Port’s season.

    “Kick straight,” Hinkley said.

    “It’s been our problem for large parts of the year. We’ve worked really hard on it but we just haven’t been able to convert the way we should.

    “That’s a work in progress – we understand that – but it costs and hurts tonight more than you can imagine.

    “We dominated the game, there’s no doubt about that, but we didn’t dominate the scoring. We didn’t kick straight when we needed to, but the Eagles found a way to win and I give them great credit for that.”

    The Power, who trailed by a game-high 31 points early in the second term, led by as much as 13 points in extra time after scores were tied at 60 points apiece at the end of regulation time.

    Shuey slotted his pivotal goal from 40m out on a 45-degree angle after Jared Polec took him high – a free kick that Hinkley agreed was there.

    With the dust barely settled on his side’s heartbreaking end to the season, Hinkley declared 2017 a year of great improvement for his club.

    “I couldn’t be more proud of the side that we put out there and the way they went about it because not many people gave them much hope at the start of this year,” he said.

    “By the end of the year … we’ve improved enormously as a football club.

    “We didn’t play finals last year and we finished fifth on the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season.

    “There’s significant improvement, but in a final that you lose by two points it doesn’t quite feel that way.”

    © AAP 2017

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