Zak Butters kicks the ball during Port Adelaide's clash against the Western Bulldogs in round 17, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has explained his exchange with gun midfielder Zak Butters during the Power's win over the Western Bulldogs.

During the Power's 48-point victory at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, Butters said he expected the AFL to examine his off-the-ball treatment.

POWER v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

Butters and Hinkley had an animated discussion on the bench in the second quarter.

Asked about the exchange at half-time, Butters told Fox Footy: "Just about a bit of stuff off ball. I will let the AFL look at that."

Hinkley said he was telling Butters to "just stay calm".

"Stay in the moment, control what you can control – some stuff you can't control so move on and let's get on with it," Hinkley said post-match.


"Conversations with Zak are always pretty intense on gameday, which is what I love about him – everything is on the line for him on gameday."

Butters has been a target of the Match Review Officer this season, copping some fines and also successfully challenging a one-match striking ban.

His increased volatility comes as some clubs opt to tag the brilliant playmaker.


On Saturday, Hinkley substituted Butters in the third quarter – by then, the 23-year-old had collected 33 disposals and kicked a goal.

"Just looking after him," Hinkley said.

"He's had a really big year and he gives me too much, he gives you everything he's got, and sometimes you have got to look after him a little bit.

"He's that type of player that has been worn like a glove for a month."


The ninth-placed Dogs could slip six premiership points outside the top eight by the end of the round ahead of fixtures against Carlton, Geelong and Sydney.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge acknowledged the difficult run ahead for his side.


"It just reflects how difficult it is to maintain momentum for the whole year," Beveridge said of the ladder logjam.

"We can only focus on Carlton ... on paper or from ladder position, we have as difficult a stretch as most (can be)."