PORT Adelaide is good enough to mix it with the best, but not to play finals this year, coach Ken Hinkley says.
The six-point loss to Collingwood all but extinguished the Power's finals chances, coming after losses to Geelong and Melbourne by 12 and 14 points respectively.
"It's a season we've had this year, it's been close but not good enough. Our results that we've not been able to win, it's put us clearly where we are, but there's been games where we can win but we clearly haven't delivered, and that's what the season has been," Hinkley said.
MAGPIES V POWER Full match details and stats
"The reality for us now is the next three weeks are really important to how we finish, and that's what we're chasing. We'll look back on the year as a whole once we get back and finish it.
"I'm not frustrated, I'm disappointed in what we've been able to deliver, and that's my responsibility.
"I've had a habit of being true to my word, and that is you are where you are. We're not good enough to play finals this year. Are we good enough to compete with the best teams in the competition? That is clear, we are. But we haven't been good enough to play finals this year."
Port Adelaide found plenty of the footy, having a whopping 82 more disposals than Collingwood, including 72 more handballs, but struggled with composure going forward.
"There was some contest stuff, there was some delivery stuff, Collingwood were able to get through and score a couple of times," Hinkley said.
"Our defence didn't hold up as well as it normally would at times, particularly early in the game in the first half, then we were much better.
"We do what we do. We put ourselves in games a lot, and we get close enough, but we just don't execute the final part and that's as much going forward (into attack) as it is anything.
"There's just so many parts of going forward that you can't say 'it's just this piece or that piece', it's more, 'that's another of those opportunities, it's another reason'."
Hinkley said it was unclear whether former skipper Travis Boak had suffered a small fracture or bruised his hand.
Collingwood forward Jack Ginnivan – who kicked three goals against the Power – spoke to Fox Footy post-match on the affect the constant scrutiny on his high tackles has had.
"It’s definitely taken a toll on my mental health and all that stuff, but I’m here, happy, smiling, when you’re kicking goals and winning it’s beautiful, so can’t complain," Ginnivan said.
"I’ve got some strong leaders around me, Darcy Moore, Callum Brown is one of my best mates, he’s looking after me.
"My mum, my family are so amazing, up here every week. ‘Fly’ (coach Craig McRae), he’s a beautiful human, I love him to bits and he’s looking after my day by day."
McRae was quick to support his rising young forward, who was once again at the centre of several high-tackle decisions.
"We're conscious of this, we see it and we try to protect him. We get to a point where we say, 'maybe enough is enough, let's look after this kid'," McRae said.
"There's been all these stories, and again, we need to look at what we can control around that. He's a 19-year-old kid, and he's saying his mental health has been strained. Let's look after him, huh?"
Ruckman Brodie Grundy made his return from a PCL injury in the VFL on Saturday, and McRae said there was an option to play him, Darcy Cameron and Mason Cox in the same side if Brody Mihocek (hip soreness) was still unavailable for next week's clash against Melbourne.
"We're rapt. He took a big step forward today. We thought he needed the run and he played up until the last quarter of the VFL. He played well by all reports, was getting better as the game was going on," McRae said.
"I watched two quarters of that game, I was happy with what I saw. He got in a little scuffle, got the bumps and bruises you need to, that you can't get at training. We're trying to set him up, whether that's in six days time we'll see how he pulls up. But we're really pleased he got through today."
McRae said subbed midfielder Taylor Adams will need scans on a groin issue, while Jeremy Howe had received a corked buttock.