Charlie Dixon and Lachie Keefe during the second semi-final between Port Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval, September 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley said the selection committee took the risks it had to take in bringing underdone players into the 23-point semi-final loss to Greater Western Sydney.

Key forward Charlie Dixon played his first match since suffering a foot injury in round 20, which pushed Jeremy Finlayson out to the substitute role.

Both key back Trent McKenzie (ankle) and tall forward Todd Marshall (hip) came into the game under injury clouds following last week's loss to Brisbane, and Scott Lycett tweaked his ankle during the game.

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The ruckman has also been dealing with knee issues throughout the season.


"There's certainly some issues around personnel, there's no doubt about that," Hinkley said.

"It wasn't just in one spot, it was right across the team. Once you lose some confidence in parts of the game, it can be a real challenge to chase it back up. I think we've all seen and watched the last couple of weeks, the best form gets you through to the last four.

"We took the risks we had to take around what was available to us, and who were the people who were capable of playing to the level.

Jesse Hogan and Trent McKenzie during the second semi-final between Port Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval, September 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"We've got some really young players who are very much too young to play at AFL level.

"People can say we had some injured players, or some blokes who were less than perfect – I can guarantee you that if some of the replacements were put out there, it would have been a much, much worse result."

With both teams struggling to kick straight in front of goal, the Giants broke the game open in the second term with five consecutive majors, but the warning signs were there early in the lopsided clearance and uncontested possessions count.

"Unacceptable, the way we were playing. We all owned it. Me, the players, we all owned it. We responded a little in the second half, but we were never in the game. The scoreboard was flattering by the end," Hinkley said.

"I think [the Power midfield] got their hands on the ball, I just think they weren’t clean enough when they got their hands on the ball, in my view. They reached and they grabbed a little bit too much.


"They’ve been able to get in and out of traffic quite quickly as a group – tonight, they weren’t able to sustain or be clean enough when they took that ball. And to the Giants’ credit, they were putting them under physical pressure and the ball got coughed up, and I felt the ball fell on the Giants’ side of the contest, and they were there ready to go."

Hinkley would not be drawn on the future of former captain and 35-year-old Travis Boak, as current skipper Tom Jonas formally retired following the Power's exit from finals.

"I think like everyone, now the season's come to an end, we'll sit down and go through our whole list and we'll have all those discussions," Hinkley said.

"We haven't had them before that, and neither we should. Everyone wants you to do list management decisions before the season is over, and we were in finals, so we'll sit down and have those conversations – not just with Travis.

"I get there's some great fascination around Trav, and he's had a great career, but every one of our players will get some more information and we'll work towards making ourselves better."