Power face up to pain of loss
A “NUMB’’ and emotional Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says he would be understanding of any player who wanted to pull out of tonight’s blockbuster against Collingwood at Adelaide Oval.
Hinkley – visibly shaken when he yesterday spoke for the first time about the tragic death of Crows coach Phil Walsh – said the Power would tonight be on standby for a last- minute withdrawal as its players struggled to come to terms with losing a respected mentor.
“If they did ( want to withdraw) that would be absolutely fine,” said Hinkley ( below), adding tonight’s match, although vital to Port’s finals hopes, had become “secondary” to Walsh’s passing.
“It’s not an issue in any space like that. I don’t know how they will deal with it.
“We trained ( Monday and yesterday) and got through OK but it may be that someone at the last minute might be really struggling.
“I probably don’t expect that to be the case because I think they would want to go out there.
“That’s what high performing people do and when you are associated with p e o p l e like Phil you just think ‘ I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to go out there and do this job’.
“That’s what he would want and that’s what we want to be able to do but it doesn’t mean we are going to be able to.”
Hinkley – like most people who knew Walsh – has struggled to cope with his death last Friday.
Walsh was Hinkley’s righthand man in the Port coaches box last season and he was Geelong’s fitness coach when Hinkley played at the Cattery in 1995.
The Power coach trembled when talking about Walsh yesterday and said he had struggled to think about tonight’s game at all, despite its importance to both clubs.
“We need to have a good, solid performance, but there are some other things right now that have made that a little bit difficult to clearly see,” Hinkley said.
“I’ll tell you, it hasn’t been big on my mind. I have ( been thinking about Walsh) and I still am and I get constant reminders unfortunately, but at some stage, like the rest of us, we’ll find a way.
“It’s really difficult for me to talk about and I don’t know ( how I’ll go tonight), I don’t know what to expect from our team or from any team. It is the unknown, I can’t give you an answer.”