Hinkley declares ‘I love Ballarat’

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has heaped praise on Mars Stadium after his team scored a gutsy win in Ballarat on Saturday.

Hinkley’s boys dug deep to land a 17-point victory over the Western Bulldogs in the first AFL match for premiership points in the city.

“Because I win it feels great, doesn’t it? I love Ballarat!,” Hinkley said during the post-match press conference.

“We’ve got Shanghai as the first of our second home grounds and Ballarat could be our second one, I don’t know.

“Great courage to the Bulldogs and their club. As we’ve done, (they’ve) taken a game to a different spot. It takes a bit of courage. I think it’s great for the game that we take it to the regional centres when we can and, if we can, like we did, take it overseas. It can only be a positive for the game.”

Hinkley said Mars Stadium had the feel of an AFL-quality venue.

“It was on. You could tell you were at an AFL game of football, couldn’t you?,” he said.

“I remember this ground from my time some time back and the stands here are great. I think the City of Ballarat should take great credit. If they put one on the other side of the ground, it would be a nice look, wouldn’t it? A great little boutique stadium for AFL football for the future.”