PORT Adelaide great Kane Cornes believes Ken Hinkley will depart the Power for the Gold Coast next season on a lucrative long-term coaching deal.
While saying he had "no definitive" evidence, the Power's games record holder and Advertiser columnist says relations between Hinkley and Power president David Koch were clearly strained and the coach would like to end his five-season tenure at Alberton.
Hinkley will address his footballing future during a prearranged interview on FiveAA on Monday afternoon.
Cornes' comments follows reports in The Australian newspaper on Monday morning that Hinkley has sought a release from the last year of his Power contract to take up a long-term deal at the Suns.
"If you look at what has transpired since that elimination final, the lack of commitment I think is ominous and you look at the timeline of events of what has happened," Cornes said on Monday morning.
"There were reports that Stuart Dew was expected to be interviewed for the Gold Coast position but he pulled out of the race because his people believed that the job was essentially Ken Hinkley's, then there is the report in The Australian today that Ken has sought to be released from the one year from his contract. There has just been nothing from the Ken Hinkley camp in terms of committing himself to the footy club."
Cornes, who is close to both Hinkley and Koch, said the president's emotive assessment of the playing group's commitment, spirit and character in front of fans and members in the wake of their heartbreaking extra time elimination final loss to West Coast had put extra strain on an already splintered relationship.
"I don't think it's so much in isolation of those comments, but it adds up with a few things Kochie has done," Cornes told FiveAA.
"Going back to last year when he tweeted - I think it was after Round 3 and the horrible loss to GWS - angrily about the performance and some players, that got them off-side, but the one that really annoyed Ken was when Kochie went on the public record and said Ken Hinkley must make finals and that after the last two seasons, can't afford another failure. I think that, before a ball had even been bounced before the 2017 season, put Ken under extreme pressure ... and I don't think he appreciated those comments from Kochie.
"I don't think (the comments last Saturday night) were a massive statement from Kochie, but it added another layer to relationship between Ken and Kochie. Clearly that relationship is strained at the moment."
Hinkley, who did return the Power to finals and just shy of a top-four finish, has in the past month declared his negotiations over a new deal at the Power beyond next year a private matter.
Port on Friday said it would not be releasing Hinkley from his contract.
But Cornes said he believed Hinkley's honour would be the only thing holding him back from joining the Suns, where he served as assistant in its first two seasons in the AFL.
"He's always been a man of his word and one to honour commitment, so that would be the thing holding him back," Cornes said.
"But I think if he had a choice, he'd like to take that long-term deal at the Gold Coast next year."