Port Adelaide won’t hasten contract talks with coach Ken Hinkley despite the sudden vacancy at Richmond.
Hinkley falls off-contract at the end of this season but has agreed with Port president David Koch to put off any negotiations until August.
Koch says Damien Hardwick’s resignation at Richmond won’t change his club’s plans.
“This decision to delay talks over extending Ken’s contract was made before the season between Ken and I,” Koch told the Seven Network.
“He agreed to it because we wanted no distractions this year for our group, our football group achieving the most success they can.
“After 10 rounds I’m pretty happy with the way that strategy is going.
“Ken and I both agreed before the season started, so we stick to the plan.”
Victorian-born Hinkley has been linked in the past with several coaching jobs outside of South Australia.
But the 56-year-old has remained at Port and in his 11th season at the helm at Alberton has banked seven consecutive wins to hold third spot on the AFL ladder.
Swans face up to mental barrier
Fortunate as they were in victory, Chad Warner feels Sydney’s lucky escape against North Melbourne helped the injury-hit side overcome a “massive mental barrier”.
And the midfielder believes it could be the catalyst for a surge towards the AFL finals as the Swans gear up for a crunch clash with Carlton on Friday night.
A crucial interchange infringement gifted Sydney their three-point win over the lowly Kangaroos – just their second victory since round two.
But it lit a fire under John Longmire’s men after four consecutive defeats.
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“Definitely a massive mental barrier for us has been broken now,” Warner told AAP.
“To keep fighting and stick to what we know works shows maturity, especially after getting run over the previous couple of weeks.
“Wins like that are definitely what motivates all the boys.
“It shows us that we can do it and we can come back, especially when we’d lost four games in a row before.
“Hopefully we can really kick-start our season from here.”
Sydney’s tall stocks have been decimated by injury this season, the horror run playing a key role in a 4-6 start to the campaign after last year’s grand final appearance.
Ruck Peter Ladhams is the latest big man to go down, sustaining serious ankle ligament damage.
He joins fellow talls Joel Amartey (hamstring), Paddy McCartin (concussion), Tom McCartin (concussion), Logan McDonald (ankle), Dane Rampe (neck) and Sam Reid (hamstring) on a long injury list.
Swans co-captain Callum Mills (calf) is also sidelined and none of those players are expected back until the second half of the season.
“Teams go through ups and downs all the time and that’s just what’s happening to us at the moment,” Warner said.
“We’re strong enough characters and we’re a strong enough club and culture that we can get through it.
“I reckon we’ll be contending right when the whips are cracking.”
Warner and fellow midfielder Luke Parker, who produced an inspirational captain’s display, were crucial contributors in dragging Sydney over the line against North Melbourne.
But the Swans were belted 47-27 in clearances, including 15-4 in the final quarter after Ladhams went down and left debutant Lachlan McAndrew to take on Kangaroos veteran Todd Goldstein in the ruck.
Warner is relishing the prospect of taking on a Carlton midfield led by Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh, with both sides’ on-ball divisions under pressure to perform.
“They’ve got some big names in the midfield but we’re back at home and hopefully we can keep this momentum going,” Warner said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do though and we’ll keep improving from here.”
Eagles backing coach to turn fortunes around
West Coast captain Luke Shuey is adamant the club won’t bow to external “agendas” that aim to bash the Eagles and see someone get sacked.
Eagles great Glen Jakovich was among the growing calls for coach Adam Simpson to step aside following Sunday’s 116-point loss to struggling Hawthorn in Tasmania.
The defeat – the heaviest in Simpson’s 10-year reign – dropped West Coast (1-9) to last spot on the ladder with a woeful percentage of 55.4.
The team’s dire form follows last year’s disaster, in which injuries and illness devastated the Eagles on the way to a franchise-worst season return of 2-20.
West Coast’s injury curse has been even worse this year, with the Eagles missing 10 of their best 15 players in the loss to Hawthorn.
Shuey is among the walking wounded, joining the likes of Nic Naitanui, Liam Ryan, Jeremy McGovern, Elliot Yeo, Jamie Cripps, Shannon Hurn, Tom Cole and Jack Darling on a star-studded injury list.
Simpson is contracted until the end of 2025, but there are growing calls for him to be sacked.
There are also calls for chief executive Trevor Nisbett to step down.
Nisbett has been at the club since 1989, and was elevated to the chief executive role in 1999.
Shuey is backing premiership coach Simpson and the rest of the club’s hierarchy to guide the team back to success.
“What’s said externally has no impact inside these four walls,” Shuey told reporters on Tuesday.
“I get the narrative people are going after and the agenda that might be being chased externally – bash West Coast while they’re down and try to get someone sacked maybe.
“But you’re not going to get any click bait with that sort of stuff from our players at the moment.
“We’re fully confident with who we have here. I’ve never seen a more driven group to turn this around, and I wouldn’t want to be doing it with anyone else.”
Shuey, who hopes to return from an ankle and hamstring injury within the next fortnight, labelled his team’s performance against Hawthorn as horrible.
“We’re hurting, and we’ve been hurting all year. We’re not satisfied where we are at,” the third-year skipper said.
“It was another punch while we’re down on the weekend, but we’re working hard to turn things around.
“I just hope people can be patient and hang in there with us.”
Shuey likened the current situation to the team’s wooden spoon campaign in 2010.
West Coast rebounded from that 4-18 season to finish fourth on the ladder the following year.
“It’s very similar. A lot of people externally probably don’t feel that way,” Shuey said.
“I’m confident we’re on the same path all those years ago.
“I’m still buoyant – we’ve seen teams turn things around really quickly.
“I get some people might say we don’t have the talent Collingwood had three years ago when they finished 17th.
“But you can turn things around so quickly in this game.”
Shuey is out of contract at the end of this season.
The 32-year-old says he is putting his full attention into stringing together 10 or 11 games in the back half of the year before contemplating his future.
Oliver, Johannisen hobbled by hamstring injuries
Melbourne expect star midfielder Clayton Oliver to be unavailable for the “short term” and Western Bulldogs defender Jason Johannisen will miss at least two months with a severe hamstring injury.
Brownlow Medal fancy Oliver strained a hamstring in the Demons’ four-point defeat to Port Adelaide last Friday night.
He played out the game but is unlikely to recover in time to face Fremantle on Saturday.
Melbourne have a big few weeks ahead as they take on the Dockers, Carlton and flag favourites Collingwood at the MCG before their mid-season bye, then reigning premiers Geelong at their GMHBA Stadium fortress.
“Clayton had some soreness at the end of the game and following a clinical assessment from the physios and the medical team, scans have shown that he’s got a hamstring strain,” Demons high performance boss Selwyn Griffith said.
“At this early stage, we anticipate Clayton won’t be available in the short term.
“His return to play will ultimately be guided by his ability to deal with increased loads and reconditioning.
“As such, we will have greater clarity as Clayton progresses through his program.”
Oliver is fifth in the AFL coaches’ association voting and is a proven Brownlow poller, finishing equal-fourth last year, third in 2021 and equal-10th in 2020.
The gun midfielder has missed only one game through injury in the past six seasons.
The 2021 premiership player is one of Melbourne’s biggest stars, winning their best-and-fairest award four times, as well as three All-Australian selections.
Bulldogs speedster Johannisen suffered a high-grade tear in his left hamstring during his side’s 45-point win against Adelaide in Ballarat on Saturday.
Scans have revealed the extent of the 30-year-old’s injury, with the Bulldogs predicting at least eight weeks on the sidelines.
“Being an over-stretching injury whilst at speed, our clinical suspicions of a high-grade injury were confirmed with the MRI that showed extensive damage,” Bulldogs head of sports medicine Chris Bell said.
“JJ is the ultimate professional and will get to work with our rehab team to get back playing this home and away season but we anticipate that he will miss eight to 10 games.”