Port veteran Kane Cornes was huge against the Suns
KEN HINKLEY'S dream start to AFL coaching continued on Saturday night as Port Adelaide made it four straight wins with a 38-point thumping of Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
After an even first quarter, the Power blew the game open with nine goals to one in the second term and were never troubled in winning 16.8 (104) to 9.12 (66).
It was a successful return to the Gold Coast for Hinkley, who was Guy McKenna's assistant for the past three years.
Port Adelaide now sits alongside Essendon on top of the competition and hosts West Coast at AAMI Stadium next Saturday.
The Power worked relentlessly both with and without the ball, suffocating the Suns (1-3) in close, and spreading hard when they won the ball.
"It was a good result for us," Hinkley said.
"Clearly we faded in the last quarter when we ran out of energy a bit. (But) to come away with a six-goal win, travelling, you'd always be happy enough to take it."
Hamish Hartlett was outstanding, racking up 29 quality disposals and kicking all three of his goals in the match-turning second quarter.
Kane Cornes was also influential, turning his night around after a horrid first quarter.
He started alongside Gary Ablett and watched the Suns' skipper notch 15 disposals for the term, but was then set free by Hinkley.
He finished with 35 touches, an astonishing 33 of them uncontested.
As Cornes ran free, Dom Cassisi switched over to Ablett - a move Hinkley described as "fairly significant" - and kept him to 19 touches for the final three terms.
McKenna was at a loss to explain the second quarter disaster.
"We started really well. It's hard to explain, we’ve sorted out our starts and we outscored them in the second half, (but) to be outscored 9.3, it is unlike the Gold Coast, even in the first two seasons," he said.
"I certainly didn’t smell that at quarter time. I thought the boys' efforts and intensity in this game and the season has been really good.
"You back off one step, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, you get exposed, and we got exposed."
GOLD COAST 4.3 5.4 6.8 9.12 (66)
PORT ADELAIDE 3.2 12.5 15.8 16.8 (104)
Gold Coast: Thompson 2, Brennan, Matera, Harbrow, Hall, Smith, O’Meara, May
Port Adelaide: Schulz 4, Wingaard 3, Westhoff 3, Hartlett 3, Neade 2, Renouf
Gold Coast: Ablett, Thompson, Matera, O’Meara, Dixon
Port Adelaide: Hartlett, Cornes, Westhoff, Schulz, Wingaard, Wines, Cassisi
Gold Coast: Wilkinson (ankle), Warnock (shoulder), Bennell (hamstring replaced in selected side by Russell)
Port Adelaide: Nil
Gold Coast: Luke Russell was subbed on for Joel Wilkinson (ankle) in the second quarter.
Port Adelaide: Robbie Gray was subbed on for Jake Neade in the third quarter.
Umpires: Ryan, Findlay and Fisher
Official crowd: 11,332 at Metricon Stadium