St Kilda coach sympathises with Port counterpart

Steve Larkin |

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon sympathises with Ken Hinkley, saying he doesn’t understand the sudden spotlight on the Port Adelaide boss.

Lyon’s Saints host Hinkley’s Power on Sunday at Marvel Stadium, with Hinkley enduring a rugged week after a last-start 79-point collapse to Brisbane.

Hinkley, in his 12th year as Port coach, has been forced to shoot down suggestions he appears worn out.

The critics have come amid three consecutive Port losses – yet they still held eighth spot entering the round, compared to St Kilda in 14th spot, three wins behind Port.

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon (centre).
St Kilda coach Ross Lyon (centre) is expecting a strong response from Port Adelaide. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Lyon said he was “alert” to the spotlight on Hinkley.

“I am not here to talk about other clubs, but there’s a lot of hyperbole,” Lyon said.

“It just highlights what AFL clubs are just focused on process internally, because all the metrics tell you they (Port) are a top-six team.

“Clearly there’s a lot of noise. But a trend is a trend, we know they’re a very good team and they’re fighting for a top-four spot.

“As a coaching brethren I don’t quite understand it.

“But it just highlights why wild gyrations outside and the media narratives are not actually accurate.

“So we’re expecting a high-quality team with its backs to the wall to be at its best.”

The Saints have won two of their past three matches to give Lyon heart in a difficult season.

“We have found some real fight, our clearance work has been good,” he said.

“We are up for the challenge. We have just got to get our mindset right and anticipate incredible effort and the fight we’re going to be in.”

Hinkley used the same word – fight – in forecasting what lay in store for both clubs.

“It’s always hard games against Ross-coached teams,” he said.

“They’re really difficult games and their (St Kilda’s) record at Marvel is pretty strong.

“We understand that last time we played was a pretty close game too.

“We’re not expecting any different, another real fight – but we expect that every weekend.”