THE virtues that Ken Hinkley developed as an assistant coach will prove valuable when he begins life as the man in charge at Port Adelaide.
Power officials yesterday brought an end to the drawn-out saga about who would succeed Matthew Primus at the helm when they presented Hinkley to the football world.
The former Camperdown premiership coach has signed on for four years at Alberton Oval and takes on a job others have done everything to avoid.
Hinkley, who has been an assistant at Geelong and Gold Coast, used his media opportunities to paint an exciting picture about delivering success back to Port Adelaide.
He was unequivocal when asked if he’d taken on the best or worst job in football: “It’s the best job in footy for me because it’s an opportunity. I can’t wait”.
But whether or not he meant it, the skill-set Hinkley said he had developed seems perfect for the job, given the recent turbulence at the Power.
“What you learn over a period of time is patience. You understand the importance of patience and stability and resilience,” he said.
“It’s a ruthless game and it takes a lot of those things to survive and to be successful in it.”
Hinkley started his football career with his home club Camperdown before going on to play 132 games at Fitzroy and Geelong between 1987 and 1995. He then tried his hand at coaching.
Hinkley steered Camper-down to Hampden league premierships in 1999 and 2000 and was an assistant to Malcolm Blight at St Kilda in 2001.
He spent a year with the Saints but returned to country coaching, as senior coach at Bell Park in 2002, and coached the Dragons to the 2003 Geelong Football League flag.
Geelong swooped, and he had an integral role for the next six years as the Cats became one of the great modern-day football teams.
The opportunity to further enhance his coaching resume led Hinkley to Gold Coast in 2010, despite his allegiances to Geelong.
“I’ve lived the hard yards for three years and there have not been many wins (at Gold Coast).
“You learn to mark yourself on improvement and consistency.”
Hinkley said he took on the Power job with the support of his wife Donna and children Lisa, 23, Bec, 20, and Jordy, 14, who gave him the all-clear to accept the offer.
He would not nominate a minimum number of wins the Power had to have in 2012, but was confident “about the way we’ll go about things”.
“People will have their ideas and thoughts. I never put a ceiling on something like that,” he said.
Ex-Carlton assistant Alan Richardson will be Port Adelaide’s director of coaching and strategy.
The Power have also lured back high-performance manager Darren Burgess from English soccer club Liverpool.
“As a combined group, we think this is a very, very significant statement of intent for the Port Adelaide footy club,” chief executive officer Keith Thomas said.