Alipate Carlile of the Power is tackled by Brodie Martin of the Crows during the AFL Round 15 match between Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide. (Photo: James Elsby/AFL Media)
It's a real test for us to keep this intensity going
PORT ADELAIDE defender Alipate Carlile says new coach Ken Hinkley is a deep thinker when it comes to football and the players are responding well to his approach, one Carlile describes as a "white-line fever coaching style".
"When he is coaching, he is serious but off the field he is great, really easy to talk to and easy going," Carlile said.
Hinkley has taken over a club that has won just 34 of 110 games since it appeared in the 2007 Grand Final. He has immediately effected change.
"The training attitude has changed a lot," Carlile said.
"The boys are a lot more diligent about stuff off the field such as recovery. We're trying to concentrate on playing 100 per cent for 100 per cent of the time."
Carlile said the lift in training intensity was more a mental test than a physical test, but it was essential for the group to learn to play at a higher intensity for longer.
He said Hinkley had arrived with a clear definition of the game plan and the roles each player had to fill, which was giving the group a clear focus.
For Carlile, the absence of Troy Chaplin (to Richmond via free agency) will give Port Adelaide's backline a distinctly different look in 2013. But he does not seem too perturbed about losing his defensive partner in crime.
Carlile said recruits Campbell Heath, Jack Hombsch and draftee Tom Clurey had all suggested during the pre-season they would become impressive additions to that part of the ground in the future.
"We're just working on each session playing on the forwards that they throw down there for us and trying to improve as a whole and work out how each other plays," Carlile said.
With seven seasons at the club behind him, Carlile has played in just one final. It was in just his 10th game that he played in the 2007 qualifying final. He made way for the returning Darryl Wakelin and was an emergency in the Grand Final.
Since 2008, he has played 101 of his 111 games and played in all 34 of the club's wins in that time.
At 25, and with seven seasons at the club behind him, the key defender rates his past few years as just average, with inconsistency dogging him.
"Trying to get that consistency back in my game [is] one of my main goals. [I'm] wanting to help the back six settle and get as much improvement as we can next year and try to get some wins on the board," Carlile said.
Having spent the first part of pre-season in Europe playing an exhibition game in London, watching Liverpool play and visiting AC Milan's headquarters, and then visiting Fiji to join his mum as she celebrated her 50th birthday among family who still live in Fiji, Carlile has had an off-season with a difference.
He's now hoping that he can have a season with a difference too.
"It's a real test for us to keep this intensity going and something that we are really working on as a group," he said.