Some Port Adelaide players were rattled by criticism from chairman David Koch as the AFL club’s troubled season continues.
While coach Ken Hinkley rubbishes suggestions of disharmony, captain Travis Boak says Koch’s spray – labelling Port’s loss to GWS as a “disgrace” – worried some players.
“Kochie has been a huge support for us and really grown the club, he’s just a super-passionate Port Adelaide man,” Boak told the Nine Network.
“So his comments, because he’s the man at the top, probably rattled a few players.”
Boak cleared the air with Koch before Port slipped to a 48-point home loss to Geelong on Saturday night – the club’s third heavy defeat in four weeks.
“We are very open. I had a chat with Kochie during the week,” Boak said.
“A few of the players just didn’t understand it because it came up on social media. That was probably the main reason.
“If he had come into the rooms and we heard it, the boys would have understood it because we were talking exactly the same language he was.”
After the loss to Geelong, coach Hinkley said any suggestion of disquiet within the club was laughable.
“David has made a comment – let’s be big enough to handle it,” Hinkley said.
“Let’s just keep together as a footy club.
“Let’s just say `ok, we’re all disappointed – the chairman, the CEO, the coach, the players, and clearly the supporters’.
“And they have got every right to be disappointed.
“When you get disappointment, you have to be able to be honest.”
Port are now with a 2-3 win-loss record – their victories coming against lowly St Kilda and Essendon.
Hinkley vowed to work even harder to help the club live to its mantra.
“The slogan says `we never give up’,” Hinkley said.
“You know what, the never give up means we will never give up on the whole thing – it’s not just about tonight and one quarter or a half.
“When it gets tough, that is when you have got to see whether you will give up.
“Well, this footy club won’t give up.
“We will stay together and work damn hard to make sure we can improve.”