Sport: Butters throws support behind Power coach

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Port Adelaide young gun Zak Butters has thrown his support behind Ken Hinkley, despite the club dropping out of the AFL finals race early in their coach's 10th season in charge.

Young Port Adelaide star Zak Butters wants coach Ken Hinkley to stay. © Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS Young Port Adelaide star Zak Butters wants coach Ken Hinkley to stay.

The Power played in back-to-back preliminary finals in the past two seasons but, after losing their last four matches, are now certain to finish outside the top eight for the fifth time under Hinkley.

Club president David Koch this week refused to guarantee Hinkley would lead the Power next year but Butters wants the coach to at least fulfill the remaining year on his contract.

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"100 per cent I want Kenny at the top and Kenny leading us boys," Butters said.

"He's done a bulk of work in the last four years since I've been at the club.

"He's helped me so much on-field and off-field, so I definitely want him as my coach next year."

After a shock 0-5 start to the season, the Power won eight of their next 11 matches to fight their way back into finals contention but have been unable to maintain that momentum later in the year.

At 8-12 the Power have slumped to 12th-place and face Essendon this week before a final-round Showdown against Adelaide (7-13) that could decide which of the crosstown rivals finish higher on the ladder.

With finals already out of reach, the Power are targeting a strong end to the year to at least finish it sitting above the Crows.

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"I think everyone is pretty aware that's the case," Butters said about the risk of dropping below the Crows next week.

"The boys certainly won't let that happen. We want to win the next two games, starting this weekend and then the Showdown."

The 21-year-old Butters was this week named in the AFL Players' Association's 22under22 squad of 40 players along with teammate Connor Rozee.

Butters has bounced back from an injury-interrupted 2021 to average a career-high 22 disposals and three clearances a game this year.

He was also named in the 22under22 squad in 2020 and hopes to use the recognition as extra motivation to become one of the leading players at the Power next year.

"It's definitely an honour to be amongst some great young players," Butters said.

"I hold high expectations of myself and I'm sure those around me do as well.

"I think I should be putting myself in the mix and being one of the best players at the club.

"I don't think I'm too far off it. But I definitely think there is still a lot of room for improvement and that's what excites me."

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