IN a perfect world, Ken Hinkley would have made the drive to Alberton Oval this morning with another four points in his pocket and bragging rights over his former deputy Matthew Nicks.
His biggest challenges would have been the traffic on West Lakes Boulevard and a looming headache selection with a healthy list ahead of a clash with North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium and the Magpies SANFL opener season against West Adelaide.
The reality is, Hinkley has not stepped inside the walls at Alberton Oval since his side defeated Gold Coast. He has not even left his house.
The entire Port Adelaide travelling party that made the trip to Metricon Stadium – players, coaches and staff – have been in self-isolation since touching back down in Adelaide to play their role in flattening the curve of the coronavirus outbreak.
Being kept away from his playing group is another challenge that Hinkley is navigating in his capacity as senior coach.
“It is certainly a challenge for us all, for everyone,” Hinkley admitted during a radio interview on Monday morning.
“It is not just a community challenge, it is a state challenge, a country challenge, it is a world challenge.
“We’ve all got some things to work through here and we’re playing our part in it.”
Port Adelaide were in the air when the powers that be closed South Australia’s borders, initiating strict isolation procedures for returning travellers and prompting the postponement of the 2020 AFL
“On the flight we were made aware of the probability that we were going to go into isolation,” Hinkley explained.
“Albeit the South Australian borders closed down on the Tuesday, but as a team with a responsibility to our state we certainly knew our responsibility was to go into isolation and do our part.
“We got off the plane and went to our homes and since then we have still been at our homes.”
The Power mentor said that while it has changed the method in which they must operate, Port’s football department are adapting to their new circumstances as best they can.
And despite the challenges in front of him, the 53-year-old is determined for his side to maintain the level of connectedness they worked so hard over the pre-season to build.
“What we do in this world is use the technology that is available,” Hinkley said.
“I spoke to every one of my players last week by phone and we did what we could from a team review point of view.
“There were some messages that this was a challenging time for us and for everyone – stay safe and stay well and look forward to a time that we could bring a little cheer.
“If you’re really in this together, and we are as a footy team, we will spend a lot of time still connecting with each other, we’ll still communicate with players and coaches.”
While he would prefer to be game planning for a tough North Melbourne outfit this week, Hinkley knows there is a bigger picture at play and encouraged the Port Adelaide community to stay connected and help each other through the current uncertainty.
“There are lots of things that people are dealing with and lots of things people are trying to get through – not just from footy a sense but from a world sense,” he said.
“We know the isolation and the rules that go around social distancing are really, really important for everyone to follow.
“It is the only way we are going to control this problem we have got currently.
“You have got to keep yourself intact with connecting and make sure you reach out to people.
“You can do that via the internet and social media, there’s so many options that for once will probably provide us some good.”