UNDER-FIRE coach Ken Hinkley believes Port Adelaide can still salvage its season despite a fifth straight defeat consigning the Power to its worst-ever start to a campaign.
"I'm going to continue to believe that and I'm going to continue to work towards that," a steadfast Hinkley said after the Power's heartbreaking three-point loss to Carlton on Sunday.
"It's enormously challenging, there's no doubt about that, but I'm not going to give up and the team won't give up.
"We'll keep to task and we'll keep going and you never know, we might get on a (winning) run just as big."
Hinkley pointed to 2013, his first year in charge, as an example of how dramatically the wheel can turn.
Port won its first five games of that season and lost its next five before recovering to play finals.
"Does it matter when you lose your five in a row if you can win enough? I don't know," Hinkley said.
"But my history tells me that you can lose five in a row and still make finals."
The Power were smashed by Carlton in the first half and trailed by 50 points before twice getting themselves back within a kick during the final quarter.
Karl Amon's last-minute shot at goal from outside 50 metres could have sealed a thrilling comeback but drifted agonisingly wide and was rushed through for a behind.
While vowing not to dismiss the first-half lessons, Hinkley saw enough positives in the second-half performance to work with heading into a round-six battle with West Coast at home.
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He liked the efforts of Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, debutant ruckman Sam Hayes and Amon, as well as veteran "soldier" Travis Boak.
Ollie Wines missed the Carlton game after doctors discovered a heart irregularity but Port are optimistic the Brownlow medallist will return against West Coast.
"One thing we've got to be really cautious of is Ollie's health and we've got to make sure that's right," Hinkley said.
"But as I sit here now we expect him to play next week."
Carlton coach Michael Voss is happy to bank the four points, but concedes his side needs to address its alarming third-quarter lapses.
The Blues narrowly escaped a stirring comeback from Port Adelaide on Sunday, with the Power booting six goals to Carlton's one in the third quarter.
It marks the third time in five games this alarming fadeout has occurred, with Voss identifying it as an area for improvement.
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"We put ourselves in such a strong position and our top level is extremely impressive but we just sort of drop our guard a bit and lose some concentration," Voss said.
"We lack some consistency in the way we want to play so we just need to make sure we keep working at it.
"We've got to keep emphasising and valuing the right things so we can produce for a lot longer than what we are."
Fifty points down in the second quarter, the Power found a spark in the third to pare the margin back to just two points with just minutes left on the clock.
Hinkley said the Power had prepared to take advantage of the Blues' slow third quarters.
"We knew coming into the game Carlton's second halves have been quite different to their first halves, and I'm sure they'd be aware of that," Hinkley said.
"We thought if we could get a bit of scoreboard pressure going we'd still be in the game.
"It seems a bit silly at 50 points down but that's what we believed.
"We knew the opportunities, if we could keep going, would maybe appear later for us but we didn't want to be 50 points down."