Slow AFL starts frustrate Port's Hinkley

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley admits his side's slow starts to AFL games is proving costly.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley admits his side's slow starts to AFL games is proving costly.

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley was left to rue another slow start as his AFL side went down by 31 points to Hawthorn.

The Power conceded the first five goals in a low-scoring match in Launceston on Saturday and trailed 32-0 early in the second quarter.

They clawed their way back to an 18-point margin in the third term but the Hawks closed it out 12.8 (80) to 6.13 (49).

"It was really clear early that they were up and about and hunting us a little bit more than we were hunting them back," Hinkley said.

"That's a poor thing for us. Our starts haven't been super for most of the year.

"We spoke about that as a group and coaches. We need to make sure that we're better and ready to go from the very start. It's where games are won and lost.

"It's certainly a concern for us."

Port were also slow out of the blocks in their 20-point loss to Adelaide in round eight, only kicking two goals for the first half.

The week prior, Collingwood landed seven unanswered first-quarter goals to run out 39-point victors.

The Power are now 5-5 ahead of a trip to China to play St Kilda next round and amongst a host of teams battling for a top-eight berth

"Getting a read on the competition is really difficult," Hinkley said.

"You have to be up and about for every game. If you're not, you end up on the end of a loss."

Hinkley was happy with the return of Robbie Gray, who missed three weeks with a broken hand.

Gray finished with eight marks and 27 touches, one behind the team's best Darcy Byrne-Jones.

"He'll be better for the run. There were some good patches of play. There's players out there that will get better each game."

Australian Associated Press