Dual premiership Kangaroo David King has cast serious doubt over Port Adelaide’s premiership credentials and window, claiming the team’s flag profile is “about as fake as a $3 note”.
The Power on Saturday night were pummelled by a red-hot Lions outfit at The Gabba, going down by 48 points as they missed out on the chance to earn a home preliminary final.
Ken Hinkley’s side finished the home and away season in third spot on the ladder with an impressive 17-6 record.
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But speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack on Saturday night, King said the Power never looked like they would seriously challenge the Lions.
“I think they’ve had a horror week. The build-up to this game was poor – and they played accordingly,” King told First Crack.
“It’s the falsest finals profile I’ve seen for a top-four team for a long time. And this is not a one-week discussion. It’s not a tonight discussion. It’s about as fake as a $3 note.”
King pointed out the Power, who conceded 19 goals on Saturday night, came into the finals ranked 10th for defending ball movement.
“They don’t defend. They can’t defend their D50 at all. Until you get that right, you are not a premiership contender – I don’t care where you finish on the table,” King said.
“This team has to go backwards before they go forwards. They’ve got guys down back – and I know they’ll talk about ‘we’re recruiting this guy and this guy’ – but it’s not a defensive model that’s taking them anywhere.
“I think Ken Hinkley’s got massive concerns. If it’s not (Connor) Rozee, (Zak) Butters and (Jason) Horne-Francis and (Sam) Powell-Pepper at forward 50 stoppages – and I know (Ollie) Lord kicked some goals tonight – who is it? Who steps up and wins them the game? I know they’ve got guys who have been around the edges of All-Australian team, but are they the ones that take you to the promised land? I think they’ve got massive holes.
“They’ve finished third and had a really good season with what they’ve got. But they’ve got to go backwards to be a contender for me.”
King said of the six remaining teams left in this year’s flag race, the Power seemed worst placed to challenge for the premiership.
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Dual All-Australian Leigh Montagna added: “Simon Goodwin put it on the radar that your vulnerabilities get exposed in finals – and Port Adelaide’s vulnerabilities are obvious.
“I don’t think they can win the flag. They’re going to have to get over the Giants first and then try and beat Collingwood at the MCG.
“It’s what they’ve got to work with, but it’s probably not good enough against the very best team.”
The Power last month confirmed Hinkley signed a two-year contract extension – a move King thought came too soon.
“The coach’s role is to set the course for your club and give you the best opportunity to win a flag,” he said.
“They’ve re-signed Ken – I’m not trying to sack Ken – but these are the things you have to take into consideration and this is why we said: ‘Maybe it’s better to wait until the end of September.’
“It has to correct. This is supposed to be the premiership opportunity, the window for this group. For me, it ain’t there.”