PORT ADELAIDE Coach Ken Hinkley has given credit to Brisbane for its pressure around the ball, saying his side was “beaten up” and still has a “way to go” after Saturday night’s loss to the Lions at the Gabba.
Port Adelaide started well but failed to capitalise on its forward dominance, managing 1.6 in the first term before the Lions booted five goals in eight second quarter minutes to effectively run away with the game.
Hinkley said the game was won in the contest, which his side usually prides itself on.
“We lost centre bounce and on the Gabba particularly, if you lose centre bounce it puts your backs under pressure – I think it’s one of the grounds that centre bounce is really critical to,” he said after the game.
“We were doing really well in the first quarter, clearly didn’t get enough scoreboard pressure on and we missed some opportunities – that’s footy, that happens.
“But for us, let’s not miss the fact that physically we got out-muscled around the footy tonight.
“They got the game rolling on their terms. If you lose contests particularly around the ball first, then you’re going to lose contests forward or back of the ball, which we did tonight.
“We were beaten badly in the contest and it’s an area that we’ve been fairly solid – we’ve been fairly good for a while now but tonight we were given a good uppercut.”
The Port side was well served by Travis Boak who won 26 disposals with most of them contested, and Zak Butters, who showed poise and hardness at the contest to win 18 disposals to go with his two goals.
But there were few other winners on a night when the Lions’ pressure was manic.
“I think we were put under contested pressure all night by Brisbane and that was a credit to their hunt and their pressure,” Hinkley said.
“They were all over us and to win any ball you had to be prepared to win it in the contest.
“It’s no surprise to play Brisbane at the Gabba and get on the end of a bit of a whack, I mean they’ve done that over the last year and a half to a lot of teams up here.
“We’d much rather we were much better than we were tonight but we were beaten up by the side that deserved the victory clearly.”
Among those with their colours lowered, but not for lack of effort, was last week’s six-goal hero Charlie Dixon, who had a handful with Harris Andrews.
Dixon finished with just two behinds.
“That’s what good defenders do and Andrews is a great defender,” Hinkley explained.
“Charlie’s been in really good nick too and they always look forward to those battles.
“The last time we played them, a long time ago in the Marsh Cup, Charlie had the better of the battle and tonight clearly the Brisbane team had the better of the battle – I think that’s really important – whether it was forward of the ball, where our tall forwards or our smaller forwards got beat, or in front of the ball for Brisbane where their talls were able to get on top of our backs.
“We rely on getting good pressure on the ball and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Port Adelaide had targeted three wins from its three games in the Queensland hub, but returns to Adelaide on Sunday night with two wins, and still holding top spot on the ladder over Brisbane because of superior percentage.
Saturday’s was Port’s first loss in 2020 and Hinkley said his side will get back to Alberton and prepare to rebound against Greater Western Sydney next Sunday.
“We’re alright – we’re obviously disappointed not to win tonight – we’re really disappointed when we had an opportunity to come up against a really good side on their home deck and see where we were and we found out we’ve got a little bit to go,” he said.
“But we’ve had an experience up here that we’ve come up here to win all three games. We haven’t done that, we’ve won two.
“We’ll go back, we’ll reset, we’ll train through the week as best as we possibly can and we’ll venture up here next week to play GWS.
“It’ll be another great contest.”