These are the coaches on the AFL hot seat after 2022’s round four

Essendon coach Ben Rutten looks dejected during a game against Geelong

Unless you are in charge of a team skating to victory in a grand final, things are never easy for AFL coaches.

Injuries, COVID-19 and streamlined, or underfunded, football departments all contribute to the stress of the job, not to mention the constant scrutiny from media, fan forums and the like.

When we look at which coaches are on the hot seat after the first four rounds of the season, various factors come into play.

Those coaches feeling the most perceived pressure are not necessarily just those at clubs at the foot of the ladder — for example, Adam Simpson at West Coast and David Noble at North Melbourne do not make this list. They may make yours.

Let’s have a look.

Port Adelaide — Ken Hinkley

Ken Hinkley has been at Alberton for nine years, going on 10 — in that time there has been no flag and no grand final for the Power, despite five finals runs, and three preliminary finals appearances.

The quandary that Hinkley and his team face is that they cannot avoid thinking about finals, since the Power’s premiership window is supposed to be now.

At the minute, however, Port Adelaide do not look near finals material on the evidence of the first month of the season. A damaging loss to the Crows in the first Friday night prime time showdown did Hinkley no favours, particularly with the Power letting a four-goal lead slip.

The round-four loss to Melbourne was possibly worse, not because of the margin but because of the way they played and how it looked from outside.

The Power went out with a new plan of keeping the ball off the Demons, and they managed it for a quarter and a half — at the cost of not scoring themselves — before Melbourne saw an opening and drove straight through it.

Author: Ivan Robinson