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Stalled contracts not driving Port players' desperation, says Hinkley

Football

Port Adelaide’s eye-catching form isn’t linked to the number of players at the club whose contracts remain up in the air, coach Ken Hinkley says.

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The Power have deliberately stalled negotiations with 17 players who fall off-contract at season’s end.

But Hinkley says the delay isn’t designed to send a message of ‘play well, get a contract’.

“You have got to earn your opportunities and earn your rewards,” Hinkley said after Port thrashed Hawthorn by 51 points last night to rise to fourth on the ladder.

The AFL’s delay in reaching a new collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union was the main factor in Port’s stance.

“We have had a CBA which has been dragged out and dragged out and you don’t quite know where it is,” Hinkley said.

“It wouldn’t have been smart business to start doing too much until you at least get that locked away – it’s still not locked away.

“So let’s be patient. The players all understand… they all know exactly it’s at. It’s not like they’re uncertain about what is going on.”

Hinkley said his players weren’t in the AFL for the money.

“They are competitive people, these blokes,” he said.

“When they go out and play, it’s not because they have or have not got a long-term contract.

“It’s their willingness just to play for every moment. They love playing AFL football and the bonus is the contract.”

Hinkley was unaware of reports North Melbourne are preparing a bid for backman Jasper Pittard who, like teammate Jackson Trengove, becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

“Jasper and Jacko both fall in that bracket of restricted or unrestricted free agency so we understand the new world that we live in,” Hinkley said.

“And if you’re looking at those players, you would probably suspect they may get some opportunities.

“But what I will say is our players have been strong in staying around.”

-AAP

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