Moments after the finish of one AFL season, Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley can't wait for the start of the next.
Hinkley's Power finish 10th on the ladder after trouncing a lacklustre Fremantle by 43 points in Sunday's clash of the also-rans.
Port triumphed 15.20 (110) to 10.7 (67) at Adelaide Oval but have now missed the finals in consecutive seasons.
But Hinkley, after injecting a batch of emerging talent into his side this season, is bullish about the future.
"We set out at the start of the year to play finals and we failed to do that, so that does leave you a little bit hollow," he said.
"(But) There is a lot of optimism. There's a connection between this group, the players ... I really felt like they have stuck at it all year.
"There's some real optimism around what some of the people are capable of doing ... I think we have got a pretty strong group ..."
Port on Sunday trailed by nine points at quarter-time but steamrolled the Dockers in David Hale's debut as caretaker coach.
Hale admitted the midweek sacking of Ross Lyon was a rocky time at Fremantle.
Hale was the fourth man to take over as a club's interim coach this season following the sacking of incumbents.
But unlike North Melbourne's Rhyce Shaw, Carlton's David Teague and St Kilda's Brett Ratten, he couldn't engineer a first-up win.
"It was probably the story of our year: our skill execution and ability to move the ball by foot, especially in the back half, hurt us," Hale said.
The former North Melbourne and Hawthorn ruckman said he would seek counsel before deciding whether to pitch for the full-time role next season.
"It's definitely something I will consider going forward and sit down with a few friends and family and people that are close to me and see what the reaction is to the next step, I suppose," he said.
Hale said club hierarchy had yet to outline whether they prefer an experienced coach or a younger mentor.
Australian Associated Press