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Hinkley at ease with coaching debut

Harry Thring  March 30, 2013 11:39 AM

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Ken Hinkley is set for his debut as Port Adelaide coach

Having been around football a long time and been involved with coaching, yes it's my first game officially as an AFL coach, but I'm not at all worried about my own performance
PORT Adelaide insists it won't be exposed by Melbourne's key forwards again as it was in the Demons' two-point NAB Cup win in Renmark earlier this year.

In the absence of gun recruit Chris Dawes, James Sellar reigned supreme on March 3 and kicked four first-half goals to finish with five for the game.

Sellar took several strong contested marks and set up a number of attacking opportunities to go with his direct contribution.

With Dawes still absent, Sellar is again set to play a leading role along with Mitch Clark in attack on Sunday.

Power coach Ken Hinkley admitted Sellar posed a risk to his side, but warned it would be too dangerous to focus solely on particular individuals.

"Obviously if they've got the ability to kick five goals in a game that's going to make you be a little bit wary of them," Hinkley said.

"We don't want any of their players to do that, so as soon as you focus in on one or two you'll end up finding there's another player who'll pop up and you then find yourself guessing which [defender] you'll need for that.

"We need to maintain our flexibility, our back six will be nice and strong and they'll do the job on whoever's down there – I'm really confident about that."

The Power were dealt a late blow when key defender Alipate Carlile was ruled out of Sunday's match with a hamstring complaint.

Hinkley said the likes of Jackson Trengove, Cameron O'Shea and Tom Jonas would have to take on more responsibility on Sunday in Carlile's absence, but insisted they were up to the task.

"Yeah we've lost a player out of our back line, but we've actually replaced that player, so we're still really solid … the 22 are going to be needed and not just one individual, so we'll be ok," he said.

"We think we've got enough cover what Melbourne can put down there."

Albeit from the coach's box, Hinkley will be one of four in the Power's side making his debut on Sunday, with Jake Neade, Kane Mitchell and Oliver Wines all named.

But with the first-gamers amongst six players to debut for the club, Hinlkey said his nerves were trumped by excitement.

"Having been around football a long time and been involved with coaching, yes it's my first game officially as an AFL coach, but I'm not at all worried about my own performance," he said.

"In total we've got six playing their first games for the club; that's exciting, I find it more exciting than being nervous."

Hinkley made his playing debut for Fitzroy in 1987, but joked he was now too old to compare it to his coaching debut.

"I can't remember that far back unfortunately," he laughed.

"Like any first game I think there were some nerves in that for a player, but for me as a coach, I think it's quite a bit different."

Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.