KEN HINKLEY expects to win a premiership with Port Adelaide before the end of his new contract, which expires at the end of 2023.
The club announced Hinkley had agreed to a two-year contract extension on Wednesday, which will see him surpass ten years at the club having been first appointed in October 2012.
He is the second-longest serving Port Adelaide AFL coach behind Mark Williams and boasts a 58 per-cent winning percentage, ahead of Williams’ 55 per-cent.
But the club has not won a premiership since 2004 when Williams was at the helm and Hinkley expects that to change soon.
“We still haven’t achieved what we want to achieve and that’s what Port Adelaide sets out to do,” he said at a press conference after his extension was confirmed.
“We want to win and we expect to win. I 100 per-cent believe that we can win a flag and we are in a position where we have to maximise our opportunity and that’s what we’re going to set out to do.
“This is a really exciting team, a really strong team. It’s a tough competition we play in but this team is one really worthy of being a serious contender and we expect to be that.
“We plan on 2021 being a winning season for us and that’s a premiership.”
Hinkley said he was honoured to take on the responsibility to lead the football program and was embracing the challenge of helping the club achieve sustained success.
It was made public that Hinkley’s last contract had a trigger that saw him earn an extra year in 2021 if the side made finals in 2020.
But being locked away until the end of 2023 won’t change the way he attacks this season.
“It won’t make any difference to the way I coached in 2019. We made some decisions at the end of 2018 to be aggressive and do some things. We coached really bravely and strongly in 2019. We coached the same way in 2020. Our group is understanding the way we play more. Our group is ready to go,” Hinkley explained.
“We won’t coach or act any differently because of my extension or anyone else’s extension. We just have to perform in the same way.
“It gives me an enormous amount of pride to think that the club, as a whole, thinks we’re on the right path.
“It pushes me to want to make sure I deliver the ultimate prize – a Premiership.”
Hinkley said the announcement of his contract extension had allowed him time to reflect on how far the club had come since his arrival in 2012.
He praised the work of Chairman David Koch, former CEO Keith Thomas and current CEO Matthew Richardson in positioning the club strongly.
And, Hinkley said he was still excited about being the club’s senior coach.
“It’s still great to be part of this footy club and I’m just honoured to be part of this football club for longer, and with the trust that the board, Richo and Chris have put in our program I have absolute belief that we are going to get the ultimate success,” he said.
“We’re ready to have a go and we’re ready to win. We were in 2020 and we fell one kick short of making a grand final and who knows if we had made it there.
“We’ve experienced it, we know what it’s like to get close in my time. We’ve got to maximise it now.
In 2020 Hinkley was voted by his peers as the AFL Coaches’ Association Coach of the Year for the second time.
CEO Matthew Richardson said that award and the contract extension was a reward for Hinkley’s selfless attitude and dedication to doing what is best for the club.
“We didn’t achieve the ultimate success in 2020 on-field but we’re really excited about where our club is positioned,” Mr Richardson said.
“We have great confidence and belief in Ken and we firmly believe that Ken is going to be a premiership coach at Port Adelaide and that’s absolutely the expectation.
“Ken deserves a lot of credit and this is great reward for Ken in the way that he and the people around him have made decisions that are in the best interests of the club and positioning our playing list in the way it is at the moment, which our people should be very excited about at the moment.
“Ken’s shown that he’s been really selfless and made decisions that are about us winning our next premiership. Some of those decisions have been really difficult but we’re really excited about where our list is at.
“There’s big expectation at Port Adelaide and we absolutely embrace that and I know Ken does also.”
While Hinkley was contracted until the end of 2021, the club had always said it would discuss an extension when the time was right.
Mr Richardson said that time was at the end of last season, after the entire coaching set-up was secured.
“One of the important things about successful clubs is stability so if you’ve got the right people, get them locked away,” he said.
“We know what our program looks like for the next three years and we’re really excited that Ken’s going to continue to lead that.”