Port coach Hinkley wary of Richmond's post-Hardwick era

·2-min read
Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is warning his players to expect the unexpected as Richmond begin life after Damien Hardwick.

Hardwick's resignation from the club he coached since 2010 stunned Hinkley and the wider AFL world.

"He has been an absolute great of the game," Hinkley said.

"He's premiership coach at a great football club and you have to be nothing but shocked."

The Tigers, struggling in 14th spot ahead of hosting the red-hot Power at the MCG on Sunday, appointed Andrew McQualter as interim coach.

The caretaker coach said while Hardwick's resignation was deeply felt by players, they had rapidly refocused to their task.

"It actually wasn't much of a challenge at all ... the players have been unbelievable with their energy this week," McQualter said.

"It's pretty clear that we've still got belief in the way we play.

"The group has been outstanding. The leaders have been outstanding and it hasn't been up to us to drive much of that energy to be honest."

Hinkley was an assistant coach at Gold Coast when McQualter played for the Suns.

And while Hinkley doesn't expect McQualter to change too much at the Tigers, he admits some unease ahead of the MCG encounter.

"Richmond are quite familiar with the people who they've got in charge," he said.

"I would imagine they'll follow a pretty similar programming and a similar game style but there may be some tweaks.

"We talked about that with the playing group. There's some unknowns, we'll never quite know what those unknowns are until we start the game.

"So we have just got to be ready to bring our best and hopefully our best will be good enough."

Port's best has been good enough to down seven opponents in a row, lifting the Power to third spot at the start of the round.

But Hinkley again will be without his key attacking tandem of Charlie Dixon (thigh) and Todd Marshall (concussion), forcing him to be creative with his forward line-up.

'"We have been able to create it (winning) in different ways, but I think all clubs have to do that at some point," he said.

"You have to find different ways to win because even when the names are in your team, they don't necessarily always play well.

"You need to create an opportunity to win and that's what we've been able to do for a good period of time now."