It’s no accident that Port Adelaide overran Carlton in the last term to beat them by 33 points on Sunday night.
Port Adelaide’s mission this season is to run the rest of the AFL off their feet.
The point was made in the last term of Sunday night’s 33-point win over Carlton and emphasised by coach Ken Hinkley in his post-match comments.
The Power rallied from a first term where they often struggled to gain possession to eventually overrun Carlton in the final quarter with seven goals to one.
“One hundred per cent honest – we’re just a great running team – teams know that,” Hinkley said.
“Teams know they’re going to play against hard-running Port Adelaide.
“We’re going to make it a tough day.
“If you come and play against Port Adelaide, you’re going to run and you’re going to have to run really hard for four quarters.”
Hinkley was also impressed with the resilience of his senior players, many of whom had struggled early against Carlton.
He put the acid on them at half-time and Port then steadily took control of the match.
“I had a real go at them about what we were trying to achieve,” Hinkley said.
“What a response they gave us, the way they went about it – Ebert and Boak and Gray, even Trengove was stronger again in the second half.
“Hartlett got going … Monfries and Lobbe – they just did what leaders do and willed themselves into the contest.”
The three stars for Port were Justin Westhoff, who kicked five goals, second-year midfielder Ollie Wines and Brisbane recruit Jared Polec.
Westhoff crucially kicked four goals in the second term to bring Port back into the game, while Wines had a whopping 11 clearances.
Now back in his home state, Polec has impressed Hinkley since joining the Power.
“There’s a wonderful thing called being happy … he’s home and he’s happy,” Hinkley said.
“It’s not a reflection of where he’s come from, it’s a reflection of where his mind is at.
“He’s home, he’s really comfortable and he enjoys the environment he’s in because he’s home.”
Slow starts were often a problem for Port last season, but Hinkley is determined that it will not become a focus.
It was put to him post-match that the more their slow starts are talked about, the more they will become an issue.
“That’s what we just talked about,” he admitted.