THERE’S no special recipe for Port Adelaide to follow if it’s to start putting itself on the right side of close matches, just a simple philosophy of persistence beating resistance.

Despite looking the better side for much of Saturday afternoon the Power slipped at crucial times and trailed the Western Bulldogs by three points when the final siren sounded.

Port easily won the tackle count (95-80), managed more inside 50s (55-51), more marks (86-55) and out-possessed the Bulldogs (385-377) but wasn’t able to convert when it needed to.

Five talking points: Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs

The club has now lost three of its last five games by a combined margin of 13 points.

Coach Ken Hinkley insisted the only way to start celebrating those games rather than lamenting a missed opportunity was to continue pressing through every minute of every quarter.

“Being diligent to the very last second of every game [is the key to winning the close matches],” Hinkley said.

“What everyone looks at is the last quarter or the last 10 minutes in a three-point game. What’d we do in the first quarter in the first three or four minutes that we should have been doing better at that time?

“You’ve got to look at the whole game.

“Usually if you can maintain that for the full game you’ll end up winning the game of football.

“[We’re] a pretty good footy team, we’ve been in pretty good form over the last five weeks [but] we’ve lost small-margin games.”

Despite the close loss, Hinkley was confident his side had continued its build in momentum.

Those three narrow losses have been the side’s only since round five and have been accompanied by four strong victories.

The coach said he could see self-belief remained strong in his playing group.

WATCH Ken Hinkley's full media conference

“We’ve been playing pretty good footy. I tell you the way it is - we’ve been playing good footy…we’ve been building,” he said.

“They (the players) know they played a pretty strong game of football today, we played a top four football side today and it was a cracking game.”

Port Adelaide will travel to Perth next week to take on Fremantle ahead of its round 14 bye.

The game against the Dockers again looms as hugely important if the Power are to remain in touch with the top eight through the bye period.