The pain of a narrow preliminary final loss will be the perfect sharp edge to carry Port Adelaide into the future, after a successful 2020.
Robbie Gray gave Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley plenty more to smile about when he put his body on the line in Thursday night’s big win over Melbourne.
Robbie Gray has made a habit of providing highlights for Port Adelaide at the Gabba in July.
Some, such as his match-winning goal after the siren against Carlton in Round 7, have been of the glamorous variety.
Others have been more about guts and determination, and Gray getting his hands dirty.
The mercurial star’s latest act of inspiration fell into the latter category as he charged into a 50-50 contest with Christian Salem late in the Power’s 51-point thrashing of Melbourne on Thursday night.
“It was amazing, really,” coach Ken Hinkley said.
“We were up ten goals and I’ve seen Robbie Gray put his body on the line incredibly well.
“Sam Powell-Pepper really attacked the very next contest straight after it and I was really pleased.
“I made a comment in the box, they’re my two favourite (video) edits in the game (because) they were still doing it late in the game when the game was under control.”
Gray was left sore and stayed down for a short period but escaped without serious injury.
“Luckily he was just winded,” Hinkley said.
“He’s pretty tough over the footy and that’s when he plays his best footy, when he’s like that.”
Port Adelaide host the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval on Monday night in the second of four games scheduled in the space of 16 days amid the competition’s fixture squeeze.
Hinkley expected to have all of his players available to back up from the Melbourne game.
The coach also sang the praises of young forward Mitch Georgiades, who made the most of his opportunity in his third AFL appearance.
The 18-year-old shone with three goals alongside fellow talls Charlie Dixon and Justin Westhoff.
“Charlie (Dixon) had four on him and Mitch got to come in and take a few balls from the side and some pretty special grabs,” Hinkley said.
“Collectively between our three talls we got six goals.
“We don’t care who kicks them as long as we can get them.”