Pressure continues to mount on Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley, with the Power’s nightmare start to 2022 continuing with a loss after the siren to bitter rivals Adelaide in Friday night’s Showdown.
The Power squandered a 23-point lead at the literal last gasp when Crows superboot Jordan Dawson coolly slotted home the winning goal, and according to former great David King, the blame lies primarily with Hinkley and his coaching staff.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack, King identified three key incidents from deep into the final term that set the Power up for heartbreak.
The first was the lack of a spare defender with the Power still clinging to a lead, which allowed Crows forward Elliott Himmelberg to mark a quick kick inside 50 and reduce the margin to under a goal.
“If you have a spare man here – it’s seven points the difference – where’s that ball likely to go? That’s where your spare is likely to be.
“A scrappy kick like this coming forward is defused, so you stay that seven-point margin up.”
King also slammed the open space inside the Crows’ attacking 50 as late as the final minute, which was only covered up by a courageous Trent McKenzie mark.
“It’s one point the difference, where’s the spare man?” King wondered.
“They’ve relied on McKenzie to take an unbelievable mark running back with the flight and to leave his man.
“If that comes to ground, it’s game over anyway.”
King also applied the blowtorch to reigning Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines, spotting some loose checking from the star midfielder on Crows gun Ben Keays at a midfield stoppage after Himmelberg’s goal.
Wines was caught ball-watching as Keays rushed forward, the Power only spared their blushed by a superb piece of defending further afield from Dan Houston to cause the turnover.
“If this game had have been won by Ben Keays… we’d be going after Ollie Wines tonight,” King said.
“Right now it’s one point the difference, they’re one point in front. If Keays gets that and scores, we’re talking about Ollie Wines.
“That’s the ace and the king – that‘s the coach and that’s their best player.”
However, according to King, the finger shouldn’t be pointed solely at Wines and Hinkley, but the rest of the Power coaches box as well.
“It was such a poor five minutes of coaching from the coaches box. Not just Ken, but he carries the can for this,” he said.
“Where is the support for your team? You’re 0-2, backs to the wall, you’ve dominated this game, it should’ve been over.”
Winless and second-last on the ladder after three rounds, things only get tougher for the Power from here, with a Round 4 date with reigning premiers Melbourne followed by clashes with Carlton, West Coast, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs.
In King’s eyes, it’s now or never for Hinkley to rescue his coaching career.
“I thought it was really poor and they’ve got a real challenge on their hands now,” he said.
“They’ve got a horrible draw coming up and I’ve got no doubt he comes under pressure; not because of what they’ve done historically, but these sorts of occasions.
“That is his time as a coach to shine in those last five minutes.”
Playing his record 227th game as captain on Saturday night, Geelong skipper Joel Selwood was mercilessly booed by Collingwood fans present at the MCG throughout the match.
A high tackle and heated exchange with Pies youngster Jack Ginnivan in the first quarter appeared to be the reason behind the targeting, the 33-year old booed with every possession from then on.
It was enough to leave Pies legend and former coach turned media analyst Nathan Buckley sitting uncomfortably, telling SEN Breakfast on Monday morning Magpies fans went over the top.
“Unacceptable. Don’t like it. Don’t like it at all,” he said of the booing.
“I understand the emotions that come with following your team and witnessing a great contest before your eyes. There is a cathartic effect of going to the footy where we release those emotions; anger, stress etc., and we get emotionally involved.
“Cheer as loud as you want, hoot and holler as loud as you like, but I just think booing or denigrating someone is just not something that needs to happen.
“That doesn’t mean that I don’t understand it, but I just don’t like it.”
Buckley famously stood up for Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury after a round of booing interrupted his post-match speech after Collingwood’s controversial ANZAC Day win over Essendon in 2019.
“Shame on anyone that booed a champion,” he said.
Selwood’s Geelong teammates have also criticised the crowd’s antics, with defender Zach Tuohy telling Nine’s Sunday Footy Show the booing made their eventual victory ‘a hell of a lot sweeter’.
“There was a hell of a lot of carry on at certain stages, so it was nice to see the stands emptying with five minutes to go after all the trouble we were getting on the sideline,” Tuohy said.
“There’s a trend, and to be fair it’s in world sport, where the better player you are, the more you seem to get targeted.
“”It didn’t phase Joel, it didn’t really phase us… he was obviously copping a tough time.”
In the wake of Hawthorn legend Cyril Rioli’s extraordinary allegations of racism levelled at the club and president Jeff Kennett, Hawks coach and former teammate of Rioli’s Sam Mitchell has expressed his sadness over his departure from Glenferrie Oval in 2018.
Speaking after the Hawks’ one-point loss to Carlton on Sunday afternoon, Mitchell, Rioli’s premiership captain in 2008 and a four-time flag teammate, revealed efforts undertaken to reconcile with Rioli have been fruitless, while expressing the club’s plans to do better.
“It certainly saddens me,” he said of Rioli’s painful exit from the game at just 28 nearly four years ago.
“I have reached out to him over the last few months, trying to get him to reconnect back with the club, and to show him some of the things we are doing now to try and improve in this area.
“I think I am like every other Hawthorn person who thinks back to the Cyril that we all loved. Whenever you think of Cyril not being happy that is going to make anyone sad and disappointed, and I’m no different.
“Hopefully we can welcome him back into the fold at some stage, but at the moment you have got to respect his wishes that he is not willing to do that just yet.”
Rioli revealed to The Age’s Caroline Wilson that the ‘final straw’ in his decision to walk away from the Hawks was an incident at Launceston Airport where president Jeff Kennett mocked wife Shannyn’s designer ripped jeans, which left her feeling ‘belittled and humiliated’.
Prominent Hawthorn supporter group Hawks for Change has begun campaigning for Kennett to be replaced as club president.
“Jeff Kennett’s disrespect of the Rioli family is the latest shameful example of why he is not fit to serve as president of our beloved football club,” the group said in a statement.
“Jeff Kennett, through his actions, has again brought the reputation of the Hawthorn Football Club into disrepute.
“Cyril Rioli has confirmed he will not re-engage with the Hawthorn Football club while Jeff Kennett remains associated with the club.
“Hawks For Change now calls on Jeff Kennett to resign immediately and directors of the Hawthorn Football Club must take a stand and seek Jeff’s resignation today.
“When Eddie McGuire realised he had done the wrong thing he resigned.
“Under the new leadership of Sam Mitchell, the Hawthorn Football Club is fiercely united on the field, but under the stale leadership of Jeff Kennett our club is clearly divided off it.”
“For the good of the mighty Hawthorn Football Club Jeff Kennett must go.”
Kennett has previously hinted at resigning as president later this year, but has regularly chosen to continue on in the past despite making similar suggestions.