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Hinkley: Jack handled the pressure

PORT ADELAIDE senior coach Ken Hinkley has praised the performance of gun recruit Jack Watts in his side’s final JLT Community Series hit-out against Adelaide at Alberton Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Watts booted six goals and gave off several others, as the Power turned a 26-point half-time deficit into a 26-point win.

Hinkley also singled out impressive performances from defensive recruit Trent McKenzie, who came on at half-time for his first game in Power colours, and another new face in Steven Motlop for his run and carry through the middle.

But it was Watts who Hinkley was most pleased for, after the 2008 number one draft pick kicked four second half goals as the Power stormed home with 12 goals to three after the main break.

“Jack was obviously great today. I don’t think it means much to Jack, though, because I know what he’s like, he just plays for the team and whatever the outcome he just handles it,” Hinkley said.

“I think that’s a hallmark of Jack to just handle the pressure that he’s been put under and six goals, he’ll be happy he’s played well, don’t get me wrong, but it won’t change what he does or what the team does.”

Hinkley said his side had tried a few different things in each half, and played the way it wanted to in the second half.

“We won the metres gained significantly in the second half, then we defended much much better," he said.

“We won big contests and we shut down some outlets that they’re really good at usually and we played defensively with the speed that we need.

“Most importantly for us, as we saw last year, our Achilles heel was not making the most of our opportunities.

“I think (today) we were down a few numbers in terms of entries but certainly our conversion was pretty elite.”

The one sour note was a hamstring suffered by defender Jasper Pittard, who limped off in the third term.

Hinkley said he would miss the opening round of the 2018 AFL season in a fortnight.

He was also happy to get game-time into Jared Polec and Chad Wingard after the pair overcame hamstring injuries.

“Injuries aside, we’ve had a strong pre-season, we’ve worked on some stuff but we’ve still got some growth to go,” he said.

“We go to the start of the season in a pretty positive state.”

Adelaide Coach Don Pyke said his side performed poorly in the second half and allowed the Power back into the contest.

“I thought we were not only attacking and moving the ball pretty well but we were defending pretty well as well and in the second half we went away from some of the stuff we were doing well and to Port’s credit they came over the top of us.”

“We went away from the fundamentals that had held us in really good stead until half time so it’s just a nice gentle reminder that if you drift away from those things like any footy team you’re going to be under the pump a little bit.”

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