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Hinkley admits: I thought we were gone

Harry Thring  April 27, 2013 11:00 PM

Post-match: Power Watch Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley's post-match press conference
AFL 2013 Rd 05 - Port Adelaide v West Coast

Port Adelaide midfielder Kane Cornes played his 250th match on Saturday night

Did I believe we were going to come away with a win at that stage? No, I certainly didn't
PORT ADELAIDE coach Ken Hinkley thought his side was gone on Saturday night.

Down by 41 points 11 minutes into the third quarter, the Power's 'Cinderella start' to 2013 looked to have ended.

However, as the side did against Adelaide in round three, when it trailed by 31 points at the same stage of the game, the Power fought back hard and turned the deficit into a five-point victory.

Five talking points: Port Adelaide v West Coast

Hinkley was visibly relieved as he entered the change rooms post-match and conceded that when Chris Masten kicked a goal to put the Eagles 40 points in the clear in the third term, he thought a win was out of reach.

The win, he said, was reward for his players' fitness and proof they would never give up.

"Did I believe we were going to come away with a win at that stage? No, I certainly didn't," Hinkley said.

"The message at half-time was 'make sure we don't give up'.

Click here to vote for the best three Port Adelaide players from this game

"We had belief in our ability to run and we knew that if we could just keep going and keep whacking away a little bit and back our legs in, hopefully we could keep running until the end of the game, which we clearly did."

Hinkley's side is undefeated, brimming with confidence and looks to have acquired an ability to maintain self-belief in any situation.

We can still win the flag, says Woosha

But after a fifth-straight win, Hinkley again warned of the dangers of getting too far ahead.

"This is a really brutal, tough competition and if you do for a moment step ahead of yourself you'll end up in trouble," he said.

"We're not going to do that … our behaviours will control our outcomes.

"No limits, no restrictions, we're just going to talk about turning up next week and making sure we put a good account of ourselves out there in the way that we play.

"We talk all the time about what we expect and that's what we're going to expect again."

While Port Adelaide's winning streak has left most in the football world open-mouthed, Hinkley said he saw the makings of a special team the moment he stepped into the senior coaching role late last year.

He accompanied the team on a pre-season trip to the AIS training base in Milan and said the foundations were clearly visible.

"From the day I went to Milan with this group, I've seen it," he said.

"They're a young, combative, desperate group of young fellas.

"I've had a group that is just willing to give everything they've got and I've seen that in pre-season in some of the tasks we set them."

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