Things are only going to get harder for Port Adelaide, and coach Ken Hinkley says there’s still a lot to learn.
The AFL ladder leaders had their eight-game winning streak snapped on Saturday with a narrow four-point loss to premiership rivals Sydney.
The Swans went into the contest odds-on favourites – and, although pushed, they delivered.
In front of their biggest SCG crowd since 1997, John Longmire’s men fended off a late charge from the Power with three crucial goals in the final quarter from superstar forward Lance Franklin.
“I think that’s why you pay him a million dollars,” Hinkley said.
“We lost and I don’t like that.
“I was pleased with their performance but we’ve got lots to learn.
“We’re not a club that sits back and gets happy with a good performance.
“We need to get better and we know that.”
Brad Ebert (40 possessions, one goal) was among the best for the visitors, taking the fight to the Swans’ star midfield alongside Robbie Gray (35 possessions) and returned skipper Travis Boak (26 possessions).
Kane Cornes successfully kept Dan Hannebery at bay, limiting the All Australian to just 13 touches, while Jay Schulz nabbed four goals and Angus Monfries three.
But for Hinkley, that doesn’t cut it.
“In some crucial moments, they get it right. In some crucial moments, though, we perhaps got it wrong,” he said.
“And to Sydney’s credit they made us pay.
“We know we’ve just got to keep going to work and working hard because we know our best stacks up really well.
“We’ll get another opportunity really soon to play Sydney – (round 20, August 9) – with the way the draw works out.
“Hopefully we’ll learn a bit more for that and we’ll be better prepared to play them next time.”
Hinkley refused to comment on the situation surrounding Monfries, who is yet to confirm or deny whether he was among the 34 current and former Essendon players issued with show-cause notices from ASADA.
Port return home to face the Western Bulldogs next Saturday, but could be without midfielder Hamish Hartlett after rolling his ankle in Saturday’s blockbuster.