AFL Round 12 – GWS v Port Adelaide: Confessions of a secret Port Supporter

By Daria Hansen

It was about six years ago that I met my now husband Dan. I led a relatively peaceful existence naïve to all matters AFL. When Dan packed his bags and headed off to Melbourne for the AFL grand final I didn’t give it much thought. He came back two days later, crawled onto my couch, lay in the foetal position and made noises that resembled what I could only describe as those of a wounded puppy. There may have also been some rocking. I watched with some confusion and dismay not quite sure what one does when confronted with that situation. Cups of tea seemed inadequate.

That’s when the full extent of the situation dawned on me. I have come face to face with what is evidently one of the strongest football obsessions I have ever encountered – obsessions period actually.

Port had lost by 119 points – the biggest losing margin at a Grand Final ever, and a grown man suffering clinical depression was on my couch and wouldn’t leave. What was a girl to do?

Over the coming years I learned to ride the emotional rollercoaster that was brought about being the wife of an avid Port Supporter, being there when they lost and cautiously celebrating the occasional win. I also became good friends with the members of the Port Supporters group here in Sydney – I guess in many ways I became a Port Supporter myself. I travel to interstate games and have been seen to sport the occasional splash of teal. Whilst the team did not always deliver, the people I met at the Royal Exhibition Hotel (where the Sydney Port Supporters group meet to watch the games) more than made up for it.

Fast-forward six years and for the first time since I’ve met my husband Port are actually looking like they’ll have a reasonable season. The mental anguish of the 2007 Grand Final is still haunting us (him because of 119 point margin and me because of witnessed the impact of this on a grown man) but I feel we’re beginning to move on. I’m still anxious and not quite convinced they’ll win at the start of every game but the outlook is much more positive.

As game day approached, Dan’s anxiety increases. In theory, it seems obvious that Port should have this in the bag. GWS after all have made a very comfortable nest for themselves at the bottom of the ladder. Port, on the other hand, were having a half decent season and were 11th on the ladder. Port being Port however, this did not allay our fears. After all, it was this time twelve months ago that Port gave GWS their first home win. That day, in my husband’s memory was comparable to their Grand Final loss in 2007 – it represented a whole new low.

Despite all that, the morning of the 16th was filled with optimism. It was a beautifully sunny day with a slight wintery chill. It promised to be a good day. I had not been to the Skoda stadium before and was pleasantly surprised upon my arrival. The latte I bought actually tasted like a barista in the city had made it, the food consisted of more than a dirty burger and some meat pies, my sparkling wine was served out of a flute (albeit a plastic flute but a flute nevertheless) and to my biggest surprise I almost missed the ladies bathrooms due to the absence of a line. I could have been forgiven for forgetting I was at a football game.

The game started off quite well. GWS won the toss and forced Port to kick to what my husband keeps referring to as the “bouncy castle” end. There was a bouncy castle at one end and apparently roaming clowns and magicians too. A real family event.

Port was off to a good start with three goals and thirteen minutes before they allowed GWS their first goal. Twelve minutes into the second quarter, Port kicked their sixth unanswered goal. A good mate of Dan’s, Nick once told me that six consecutive goals gave the team a 98% chance of securing a victory. I had yet to see a game where this was not the case and so in my mind Port had all but guaranteed their win. Sipping my sparkling wine out of my fancy plastic flute I began to relax.

By the time the second half rolled around the game was more or less over. This gave me the opportunity to catch up on my vitamin E intake as I sat back and enjoyed the sun. The flood gates opened for GWS momentarily but their attempts found the goal posts and weren’t really worth worrying about.

We celebrate the win at the after match function where we are visited upon by David Koch who was greeted by very enthusiastic applause as he walked through the venue – my husband likens this to watching Nelson Mandella walking out of prison but I feel he may be slightly exaggerating. It was also good to see Kane Cornes make an appearance and talk about his new record of 256 games for Port.

 

PORT ADELAIDE                           6.5   12.7   17.9   19.11   (125)

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY     1.1     1.5    3.10   6.14     (50)

 

GOALS

Port Adelaide: Boak 3, Monfries 3, Schulz 3, Butcher 2, Logan 2, O’Shea 2, Westhoff, Cornes, Wingard, Hartlett

GWS: Cameron 2, Hoskin-Elliott, Whitfield, Adams, Williams

 

BEST

Port Adelaide: Wingard, Cornes, Boak, Brad Ebert, O’Shea, Schulz, Hartlett

GWS: Scully, Tomlinson, Treloar, Greene, Whitfield

 

Umpires: Rosebury, Hay, Fisher

 

Official crowd: 6,601

 

Our Votes: 3. Wingard (PA), 2. Cornes (PA), 1. Boak (PA)

 

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Great Read Daria and yes I can picture Danny on the couch after 2007 after all my phone is still recovering from the text messages and so called missed calls after the saddest day in Sa Sporting History Port going top geez that hurt to type in 2004 but seriously really enjoyed your observations Daria Thank you

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