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Pride but pain for Port Adelaide after crushing after-siren loss

Lee Gaskin // AFL MEDIA  September 10, 2017 1:31 AM

Hinkley post-match EF v Eagles, 2017 - PTV Hinkley debriefs shattering loss.
  • Port Adelaide plays Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL Second Semi Final at Adelaide Oval, 3.10pm Sunday 10 September

PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley couldn't be prouder of his players, but knows the hard work begins again next year if the Power are going to return to the top.

Port is dealing with the heartbreak of a devastating two-point loss to West Coast in extra-time in its elimination final at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

The Power led by 13 points during the first of two extra-time periods, but Eagles midfielder Luke Shuey kicked a goal after the siren to secure the visitors a famous victory.

It was the Power's first finals campaign since 2014, having won 14 of 22 games in the home and away season to finish fifth on the ladder.

Hinkley said while the pain would sit with the side for some time, it wasn't as simple as hoping it would be the driving force for another finals charge next year.

"You always like to think that will be the case, the hurt helps, but I reckon that's a bit fluffy," Hinkley said.

"Does it help you for the next time?

"I don't think it does too much myself because you got to get to the next time."

Hinkley said the Power players were hurting after coming back from 31 points down in the second quarter to see their season slip away.

"People don't realise how much they put into a game of football, into a season of AFL football," he said.

"Well, go and watch our players, go and look at them now and understand the hurt they're going through, but that's what happens, football gives you a smack."

The Power only had themselves to blame for inaccurate kicking – having 26 scoring shots to 18 for the Eagles.

"You're definitely proud of the performance and the way they stuck at," Hinkley said.

"We know we probably hurt ourselves tonight, but you cannot not be proud.

"We were down five goals and we ended up getting in front by a couple of goals, so we dominated the game.

"There's no doubt about that, we didn't dominate the scoring.

"We didn't kick straight when we needed to, but the Eagles found a way to win and I give them great credit for being able to do that."

Hinkley singled out young defenders Tom Clurey and Dougal Howard for their performances, while key forward Charlie Dixon was also prominent, kicking 3.6.

Overall, the Power have made strides forward this year, but aren't content with where they are at.

"Probably not the ideal time to ask, but we didn't play finals last year. We finished fifth on the ladder at the end of the home and away.

"Significant improvement, but in a final - you lose by two points - doesn't quite feel that way tonight."