Following two consecutive home preliminary final defeats, Hinkley’s Power have had a poor start to their 2022 campaign, sitting 16th on the ladder with a 0-3 record for the first time since 2011. Two of their losses were to Hawthorn and Adelaide, who both finished in the bottom five last year.
Hinkley is in his 10th season as senior coach and contracted to the club until the end of 2023. Despite his strong win-loss record in recent years, Power fans appear agitated due to the lack of premiership success, with ex-Crow Josh Jenkins on the weekend suggesting Hinkley had “never really been accepted” or “loved” by Port supporters.
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In a letter to Port members and supporters released on Tuesday night, Richardson said there was “no hiding from the fact we haven’t started the season as we would have liked”, adding the Power “aren’t performing to our own expectations”.
But Richardson said good clubs remained “calm, strong and united, and back in their people to do their jobs” when they wanted to turn things around promptly.
“Football doesn’t always go to plan and clubs get challenged. In these moments, how you respond is critical,” he wrote in a latter published on the club’s website.
“We’ll back Ken, the coaches, and the players, and provide them with the support they need.
“We have enormous faith and confidence in this group, and in their ability to get back to playing the football we know they’re capable of.”
The Power’s determination to bounce back will be no easy task considering their tough short-term fixture run, with matches against undefeated sides Melbourne and Carlton followed by clashes with St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs over the next month.
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“As challenging as our current situation might feel, our club has been challenged many times before. As we have always done, we’ll stick together, and work our way through this moment – and be better for it,” Richardson said.
The Power’s performances and subsequent letter from the club’s boss comes just over one year after the Power released a bold ‘Chasing Greatness’ strategic plan, which declared its desire to win three flags, sign up over 100,000 members and eliminate $12 million in debt by 2025.
“We understand that what’s needed is action, not just words. As a club, we embrace expectation and will keep pushing forward with utmost confidence in our people and belief in our goal,” he said.
Ruckman Scott Lycett on Tuesday also said the Power players had Hinkley’s back, but understood fans’ frustrations.
“It is definitely hard, we hear the supporters, we understand them and we are on the same page,” he said.
“We’ve been hearing the noise and we understand but we will be looking to turn it around.
“The players are all in. we have his back, we have the backs of the supporters and our members and we are looking forward to a big game this week.”