While Port sit in fourth spot and the Roos languish in 17th, Hinkley says the ladder positions are irrelevant entering tomorrow afternoon’s Adelaide Oval fixture.
“The season takes care of itself, look at the ladder at the end of round 23,” Hinkley told reporters today.
“Make some assumptions of what your season looks like after round 23 because it’s such a close competition.
“I’m not going to sit here and predict what might or might not happen to ourselves or anyone else.”
Hinkley said North’s lowly ladder spot masked the talent in Brad Scott’s side, which has lost five games by less than a goal this season.
“They have a little bit of luck go their way and they could be in a fair different position than they are now,” he said.
“Brad said something about the ladder being probably unfair to them.
“And their percentage is really healthy so that suggests they have been in lots of games, they have lost that handful of games by under a goal.
“They have got a really effective midfield, some great players down in their back half … and up front they have got some challenges for us.
“They are a really challenging team and they are obviously transitioning a little bit as a football club, but they have quickly come on, I reckon.”
The Roos have made one change, omitting Trent Dumont and summoning 19-year-old Cameron Zurhaar for his AFL debut.
Hinkley dropped out-of-form defender Jack Hombsch in favour of Logan Austin, who will feature in AFL ranks for the first time this season.
“Every player in our side has to have that attitude, that is, if you don’t play well, you put yourself at risk,” Hinkley said.
“And we have shown this year, that we’re not going to mess around with that.
“You need to own your spot. You need to have an edge about the way you play. And if you don’t, you run a risk.”
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