Former Camperdown premiership coach Ken Hinkley wishes he kept cool more often.
In a surprising admission after being judged the AFL coach of the year by his peers, the Port Adelaide coach says he often lost his composure in the coaches’ box.
“The longer the season went, the pressure built a little bit and perhaps I didn’t handle that quite as well as I would have liked to in the box,” Hinkley said.
“The boys that I work with, they know we have got to get better in that area.
‘‘And I have certainly got to lead the way. As much as anything, it’s a bit of nervousness.
‘‘You’re working for a big result and you want to get the best result.
“You know that you don’t have much of an influence when it gets late in the game, but you think you can.
“And sometimes, you just don’t keep your composure like you should.”
Hinkley, who honed his craft at Hampden league clubs Mortlake and Camperdown, was humbled to win the AFL Coaches Association’s coach of the year award. After being overlooked by three other AFL clubs, he won the gong in his first season as a head coach for lifting Port to fifth after finishes of 14th and 16th in the previous two seasons.
From the start, Hinkley was different — shunning the subterfuge favoured by other coaches.
In Port’s initial pre-season cup game, their star recruit Angus Monfries left the field unnoticed.
Post-match, Hinkley announced Monfries had injured a hamstring — most coaches would have kept that quiet.
“I’m not into keeping secrets,” he said at the time.
And he lived by that ethos all season.
“I’m pretty honest, I reckon,’’ he said.
‘‘That is the way I am with most things I do.
“The players actually really relate to that and they like it.
“And sometimes it might hurt a little, but they understand that OK.”
Nothing seemed to faze Hinkley, whose demeanour didn’t alter whether Port won or lost. After blowing a seven-goal lead and losing by one point to Carlton in the last minor-round match, he was whistling as he entered the post-match media conference.
“I am just well placed because I have had lots of experience,” said Hinkley, who spent time as an assistant at St Kilda, Geelong and Gold Coast.
“It has been 18 years that I have been coaching so it’s a long time. I think, like any job, the longer you do it, the better you get at it.
‘‘And hopefully I have still got a lot more improvement in me yet.”AAP