Power face up to pain of loss

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - AN­DREW CAPEL Last week 7

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.”

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