THERE'S a certain honesty about Ken Hinkley we don't see in many AFL coaches.
The Camperdown export has never been one to mince his words - he says it as it is - and that was highlighted when he sounded a candid warning pre-season.
"Look out, we're coming." It's not often fans hear such bullish confidence from coaches at the elite level.
Hinkley wasn't bluffing. After 11 rounds, Port Adelaide is sitting pretty atop the AFL ladder and is playing some pretty scintillating footy at the same time.
"We care about performance and being (resilient)," Hinkley said after the Power's 21-point win over Richmond on Saturday.
We haven't always been able to sit up here and say this but I can sit here and talk about a pretty consistent team who plays for each other.Ken Hinkley
"We haven't always been able to sit up here and say this but I can sit here and talk about a pretty consistent team who plays for each other.
"I think that's what you see in the great teams and I see that in Richmond. They play for each other and our blokes are doing that a little more consistently."
Things, as Hinkley alluded to, weren't always this rosy.
The dual Hampden league premiership mentor's job was under fire when the Power failed to make finals in 2019.
Hinkley was under more pressure than arguably any other coach but he has so far weathered that storm.
That's why it's time for Port Adelaide to bite the bullet and sign their coach to a new deal.
With the Power all but assured a finals berth, David Koch's board should back their man and reward him with a deal to take the club forward.
What more can he do? Hinkley's side has the best defence in the competition and the second-best offence. Their percentage is an AFL-high 142.7.
Forward Charlie Dixon is in All-Australian form and is finally becoming the player he first looked to be when he burst on the scene at Gold Coast all those years ago.
His 21 goals are a big part of the reason Port is the ladder leader.
He's not the only one, big improvement has come from former skipper Travis Boak, Robbie Gray is firing and a brigade of youngsters are stepping up.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick is also on the bandwagon.
"There's a reason they're top of the ladder. They play a great brand of footy, they're exciting to watch and they're very dynamic," he said.
"Of the sides I'd pay money to watch, they'd be one of those sides."
So come on, Kochie. The ball is in your court.
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