Already contracted with Port until the end of next season, Hinkley told media today he was relieved to extend his tenure until the end of the 2021 season, and potentially beyond.
Hinkley topped the Suns’ wish-list to replace the sacked Rodney Eade but – despite conceding he had considered the overture – he confirmed yesterday he would honour his contract to coach Port until the end of next season, before this morning confirming reports he had signed a contract extension.
When you’re in love, you’re in love… we’re meant to be
Hinkley signalled his intent when he told FIVEaa late yesterday that he and his family were “really committed to Port Adelaide”.
“You can’t get over that. When you’re in love, you’re in love. And Port Adelaide and Ken Hinkley and his family, we’re meant to be,” he said.
He told reporters today he couldn’t turn his back on his love for his players, citing his bond with the group as a key reason for extending his tenure at Alberton.
“How can you walk away from the group that you built?” Hinkley said.
“If you know me, leaving that behind is nearly impossible.”
Hinkley said the past week of speculation linking him to Gold Coast, where was an assistant coach for three years from 2009, had taken a toll.
“There’s no doubt that has been pretty tiring for everyone involved – family, Port Adelaide, myself,” he said.
“The whole thing becomes a little bit taxing.
“But I’m just so pleased to be still part of this club and this group of players.
“I have always said what we have going is unbelievable as a group between coaches and players and football club. I needed to keep that going.”
Hinkley said the Suns’ interest prompted internal soul searching.
“The discussions were going on in my own mind … did I have the energy to do what I need to do? And I certainly do,” he said.
“There was some moments where ‘gee, what should I and what shouldn’t I do for the best interest of the Port Adelaide Football Club’. And that is where my intentions are always with.
“And it was clear to me that the best was for me to stay as the coach.”
Port chief executive Keith Thomas conceded Gold Coast’s interest in Hinkley hastened re-negotiations.
“The longer it goes on, the more the stories build, whether they’re factual or not,” Thomas told reporters.
“One of things Ken and I agree on is the power of continuity. But you also have to check yourself against the comfort of continuity.
“It’s a very, very important line you have got to draw in a high-performance environment.
“So I think the questioning from both parties was really healthy and important.”
Hinkley, who has led the Power to three finals campaigns in his five seasons at the helm, conceded he had considered the Gold Coast gig after the Suns approached his management but he said an offer was never tabled.
Interstate media reports yesterday suggested he had sought to be released from his contract following a spat with Port chairman David Koch.
There has been some interest from outside of Port Adelaide, clearly, and there’s some reasons for me to think about those types of things
“There’s no doubt that the Gold Coast have made some inquiries about my availability through my manager… there has been some interest from outside of Port Adelaide, clearly,” he told FIVEaa yesterday.
“There’s some reasons for me to think about those types of things.
“But there has been never any doubt in my mind that this group of (Port) players, that we are in it together, that we are invested together, and we feel like we’re starting to get somewhere again.”
Hinkley also denied he had fallen out with outspoken Koch, who appeared to questioned the commitment of some of the players – and question the coach’s selection strategy – after their extra-time elimination final loss to West Coast nine days ago.
“Look, there’s no doubt some of David’s comments last week perhaps come (sic) out not exactly the way David would have liked,” Hinkley said.
“David and I have had that conversation.
“There’s no doubt at all that David wants the best for the Port Adelaide Football Club.
“And what has David done for Ken Hinkley as a coach? He has given me everything I could possibly ask for to be a success as a coach.
“If he made a little slip here and there occasionally, I will live with that because he’s pretty supportive on most other things.”
Koch told the same radio station today he did not apologise “for being passionate about success”.
“I am very transparent, because I believe I have a responsibility to the entire club, so there is always going to be tension and that is built around a passion for Port Adelaide and a passion for success going forward,” he said.
“And Ken shares that passion.”
Help our journalists uncover the facts
In times like these InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia. As a news organisation it offers an alternative to The Advertiser, a different voice and a closer look at what is happening in our city and state for free. Any contribution to help fund our work is appreciated. Please click below to donate to InDaily.