Ken Hinkley press conference, Port Adelaide vs Collingwood, Brayden Maynard comments, best team in the competition, Nick Daicos tag

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has embraced the hype around this week’s blockbuster clash with Collingwood – a side he says is “very clear” by its own admission that it’s the best team in the competition.

The second-placed Power will host the top-of-the-table Pies on Saturday night in a match that could well play out again in September.

Pies defender Brayden Maynard added to the anticipation for the clash when he said post-game last week his side was “sitting on top of the ladder for a reason”.

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Maynard’s words didn’t appear to miss Hinkley, when the Power coach fronted the media on Friday.

“We’re playing the best team in the competition, by their admission,” he said.

“They are the best team in the competition. They have said that themselves publicly. July is a good time to be ranked one.”

The veteran coach added the Pies were “very clear on their description of themselves” and have “rightly” owned that tag.

Hinkley said this week’s matchup was a “worthy” blockbuster between the top two sides in the competition, which will likely be headlined by the likes of Zak Butters and Nick Daicos facing off against each other.

The two Brownlow Medal fancies have had incredible seasons so far in 2023, but Hinkley poured cold water on the idea of the two going head-to-head purely for the sake of theatricality.

Hinkley opted not to divulge the side’s plan for dealing with Daicos, who the Pies drafted as a father-son selection two years ago.

“I think he’s a quality player that everyone’s trying to handle in different ways and we’ll be doing the same,” he said.

“Lets not get confused with Nick Daicos. When you get two generational players as father-sons, probably three at Collingwood, that’s a gift that they’ve been given and they’re maximising it at the moment.

“For us, the challenge is to limit what they get. The collective is going to be more important than one or two individuals.”

Told Pies coach Craig McRae hinted publicly he’d like to see Willem Drew play on Daicos, Hinkley responded: “ ‘Fly’ did that last time. He’s enjoying his time as a coach. Good on him. We wish them all the best, we just hope we beat them.”

Entering round 19, the Power sit two games clear of the third-placed Brisbane Lions, which boasts a far higher percentage but coughed up a golden opportunity to draw closer to the top two when the side relinquished a comfortable lead to lose to Melbourne at the MCG last Friday night.

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