KEN HINKLEY was at a loss to explain Saturday night's "disaster", saying he needed more time to digest the 71-point preliminary final loss to the Western Bulldogs.
The Port Adelaide coach said post-match was not a good time to break down the specifics, other than the fact he was overwhelmed by "total disappointment" for the second straight year.
Port lost to Richmond by six points in the corresponding match in 2020, and this time were never in the contest after the Bulldogs piled on five unanswered goals in the opening 10 minutes.
"This game, you put everything into it, and you give it everything you've got … we all work so damn hard to get to where we want to go and it gets ripped away from you, ripped out of your hands," Hinkley said.
"There's nothing more you can say other than you're totally disappointed.
"It's real and it hurts.
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"I'm sure people realise how much it means, but when you're working in it day-to-day and you're playing and you're training and giving everything you've got, you just rip everything out of your insides and it hurts for too long.
"We set up to win, we don't set up to fall short and the closer you get, the harder and more disappointing that loss is.
"You've got to wish you can get back here next year and take the chance the hurt is going to be bad again if you get to the same position and lose."
Hinkley said there was no excuses for Port's performance after having an ideal build-up following the qualifying final win over Geelong.
They were outhunted in the first quarter as the Bulldogs won the contested ball (48-25) and clearances (15-6) to take total control.
"They put us enormous pressure around the ball, they put it forward, they turned it into goals.
"Then we had to start chasing everything because it was a prelim final, there was no tomorrow, you have to start to go for stuff, which probably turns the game into as big a disaster as it was by the end.
"What you need, what you want and what you hope and wish for at the end of tonight, we got nowhere near that, and it probably needs a bit of time to digest and think clearly through it."
Hinkley said there was no one area that needed to improve ahead of 2022, but the entire team.