PORT Adelaide is a long way from winning an AFL premiership but club hierarchy are certain coach Ken Hinkley can deliver a flag, Power chief executive Keith Thomas says.
Thomas expects Hinkley to fulfil his contract as Port coach until the end of the 2021 season and possibly earn an extension.
“If we think he needs more time, we will extend it,” Thomas told reporters on Monday.
“But right now, it’s can we foresee a Ken Hinkley-run football program delivering a premiership model? Absolutely.”
Hinkley has coached Port since 2013 but has missed the finals in the past two seasons – the Power placed 10th this year, the same finish as last season.
“We’re a long way from where we want to be ultimately,” Thomas said.
“But I think our trajectory is good … the landscape is significantly different as we end 2019 than it was when we ended 2018 and Ken has to take a lot of credit for that.”
Hinkley’s tenure was scrutinised during a year he rebuilt Port’s playing list with the injection of a batch of young players and some recruits.
Thomas said he never discussed Hinkley’s future with the coach this season.
And he dismissed speculation the Power couldn’t afford to pay out Hinkley’s contract if they opted to change coach.
“It’s not that we can’t afford to get rid of him,” Thomas said.
“We’re choosing not to because we believe that he can build us a premiership team and we think that he’s an outstanding coach.”
Thomas said the Power were using their full salary cap.
“We have a fully committed salary cap … there is no truth in the report that we are not fully resourced,” he said.
“We will have enough resources to do whatever we want to do with this program to make it better.
“The reality is our membership number was down this year … that hurts, no doubt about that.
“And our attendances followed a similar sort of pattern.”
Those losses were offset by an increase in corporate support and dividends from the club’s mid-season game in China.
“Our footy club has always been a low margin club,” Thomas said.
“If we shoot the lights out as we did in 2014, you’re looking at a small profit.
“If you narrowly miss (playing finals), you’re looking at a break-even result.
“That is the range and we would expect something similar this year.”
© AAP 2019