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Power is good enough to win the flag: Hinkley

Football

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says his players know they’re good enough to win an AFL premiership.

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The Power are two wins from capturing the club’s second flag after downing Geelong by 14 points in a qualifying final on Thursday night.

Port secure a home preliminary final, after holding top spot for the entire home-and-away season.

But Hinkley says the stirring win over Geelong won’t overly alter the confidence of his squad.

“I don’t think it will change too much because I think they had strong belief,” he said.

“We had strong belief at the start of the year, right through.

“We have had great belief in each other and we just knew that sticking together was going to be really important.

“It has been a challenging season so far, still with bigger challenges to come we hope.

“But they just stuck together at it. We don’t not believe, we do believe.

“We believe in us. We believe in us as a football club. We believe in us as a community.

“We know we’re good enough.”

The Power’s qualifying win at Adelaide Oval came with injury concerns, with Xavier Duursma concussed and Todd Marshall hurting a shoulder.

Duursma was knocked out in a marking crash with Geelong’s Mark Blicavs, with Hinkley praising the second-year player for keeping focus on the football ahead of the collision.

And Marshall left the field just 10 minutes into the game after landing heavily on his right shoulder.

He missed the rest of the first term but returned to the fray with the shoulder strapped.

Geelong coach Chris Scott says labelling Geelong as finals flops is lazy while defending Tom Hawkins after the Cats recorded their 12th defeat in their past 16 finals.

Hawkins misfired, booting 0.5 and having another shot fall short – a season after kicking 0.4 in a qualifying loss to Collingwood.

The Coleman medallist sprayed set shots, mostly from wide areas, and also missed a left-foot set shot across his body from close range.

“He’s a pretty good exponent of those snaps,” Scott said.

“I think he took more marks inside 50 than Port combined.

“So that (conversion) part of the game was off, but I thought he looked a threat when we gave him half a chance.”

Scott dismissed suggestions his club’s possession-based game style cracks under finals pressure.

“I thnk the criticism is a bit lazy, personally,” he said.

“But we would like to win more finals. We all feel pressure at this time of year.

“I don’t think we would look at the way we played and thought there were fundamental problems with the game style.”

Scott said except for Richmond in the past three seasons, most clubs had poor finals records.

“Bar Richmond, if you include teams that don’t make the finals, not many teams have good finals records,” he said.

“You’re playing the best teams at the end of the year in high pressure situations. So if you win it, you come away with a good record.

“The other option is you have a really good year one year and miss the finals three years in a row – that helps your record.”

Geelong will play a semi-final against the winner of Saturday night’s elimination final between West Coast and Collingwood.

And Scott was adamant his charges had the character to rally.

“We have consistently done it, this year we have performed well under adversity,” he said.

“We have had our patches where we haven’t gone that well but bounced back, both close games and within games.

“I have got a lot of faith in the character of our group.

“If we don’t perform, I’d be very very surprised if we look back and thought the character and the strength of will was the biggest issue.

“I have got a lot of confidence in the resilience and the capacity of our players.”

Scott believed Geelong would get to pick the venue of its semi-final.

“That is my understanding but we certainly haven’t made a decision internally,” he said.

“It’s a bridge that we will cross in the future.”

-AAP

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