"This is a game where we need to get to five (wins) and six (losses)."

That was Ken Hinkley's simple message to his players on Saturday ahead of Sunday's crunch clash against Essendon; a game they won by 16 points after leading by 38 at the 18-minute mark of the second quarter.

It certainly wasn't Port's best or prettiest win under Hinkley, but it was damn important, keeping them in touch with the top eight ahead of a round 12 bye.

POWER v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats

After losing their first five games of the season, the Power are 11th, just one win behind the eighth-placed Western Bulldogs.

07:00 Mins
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Highlights: Port Adelaide v Essendon

The Power and bombers clash in round eleven

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"The four points were really important for us, obviously to get to this stage after our start. I'm pretty proud of the way we've been able to get back into the competition," Hinkley said post-match.

"We're certainly not sold on the competition yet, but we're strong into it now; at least we give ourselves a chance now for the second part of the season.

"I'm just pleased to get the four points, I reckon."

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Full post-match, R11: Power

Watch Port Adelaide's press conference after round 11's match against Essendon

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Port kicked just the one goal after half-time, via former Roo Trent Dumont. It occurred at the 25-minute mark of the third quarter, when the Power were 10 points to the good.

Hinkley noted the significance of Dumont's set shot.

"It was pretty important, no doubt," he said.

"He had a couple of shots tonight and he worked really hard, Trent. He's been pretty important for us."

Asked where he wants Port to improve during the second half of the season, Hinkley said: "I think if I use the term consistency of what we do; even tonight, we showed when we're good we were good, but when we fell away…

"We need to be able to play four quarters consistently well, and that's where we're still building."

00:58 Mins
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Powell-Pepper bursts free and extends the lead

Port Adelaide's Sam Powell-Pepper kicks a clean snap out of the pack

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Port's first assignment after its break is Richmond at the MCG on June 9.

Essendon coach Ben Rutten was disappointed not to come home with a win, but said the effort, especially after half-time, was pleasing.

The Bombers dominated most of the third quarter and won the second half by 15 points.

They finished with just one less scoring shot, but had eight more inside 50s, and were in front in hitouts (38-30), clearances (36-34) and centre clearances (14-4).

"The way our guys adapted to the conditions and played that third quarter in particular was a real positive step forward for us," Rutten said.

11:57 Mins
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Full post-match, R11: Bombers

Watch Essendon's press conference after round 11's match against Port Adelaide

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"We're not where we want to be as a group, the guys are hurting because of that.

"I think there was enough out of tonight, I think, for us to be able to take with us and continue to work though."

Rutten lamented Essendon's inability to hit the scoreboard in the first half.

The Bombers trailed by 20 points at quarter-time after kicking 0.6 for the term, and went into half-time down by 31 points, with 2.9 on the board.

"We didn't quite convert our opportunities; scoring shots were pretty similar at half-time, we just kicked eight points, I think, to start with," Rutten explained.

"There was a fair bit of optimism at half-time, based on the way we were competing and the way the game was being played.

"It was just our inability to make the most of our opportunities."

Rutten also dismissed any concern over a verbal stoush between captain Dyson Heppell and star midfielder Darcy Parish during the quarter-time break. 

Dyson Heppell walks off after the loss to Port Adelaide in round 11 on May 29, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"I would imagine it's having an honest conversation about how we can get better," Rutten said.

"That is certainly what I want to encourage amongst our guys.

"There is enough level of relationship, trust, connection there that I would be really confident it is done in the right way and about how we can get better and how we can improve.

"That is important for us, to be having those conversations.

"It's problem-solving live, in the heat of the battle. That is what we need to be really good at doing."

Essendon has a bye in round 12, before hosting arch-rival Carlton at the MCG in round 13.