For the final round of 2013 the NSW Port supporters group missed going to the final game at Football Park against Carlton to instead attend a wedding in North Adelaide. Almost one year on and the same is happening again. This time several of us have flown to Fiji to attend the wedding of Sharon and Gavin, with one of the former members, Justin, even flying in from his home in Las Vegas. However we weren’t going to miss watching the game live as Sharon had it all planned well. The ceremony was at 2:30pm in the chapel on top of the hill at the Outrigger, the reception was at the adult’s poolside bar at 6:00pm and was scheduled to finish at around 10:00pm. Then we were to move down to the other poolside bar to watch the game live.
The bride arrived to the ceremony fashionably late and from then on things happened rather quickly. The celebrant had a thick Fijian accent and at times was a little bit difficult to understand. I’m not sure what initiated it but the bride and groom started giggling a little, in the beginning, and quite a lot by the end. The celebrant wasn’t always understood and the vows were at times mispronounced. To summarise the vows it went something like “I promised to love you during the bed … times and the good … and you’re the man”.
The reception was fun like most receptions are. There were the usual humourous anecdotes followed by the cutting of the cake and the alcohol fuelled dancing. Before we knew it we were being told it was the last song. The wedding was over and the honeymoon was just about to start. We then went down to the main poolside bar where the television was already on the Australia Network. We looked up to see the players running onto the field. I informed the bar staff that Port Adelaide’s Brownlow favourite, Alipate Carlile, was a local Fiji boy. Despite not knowing what the Brownlow Medal was or anything about the AFL they seemed suitably impressed.
The game was to be a celebration for the club and its fans. After all it has been one hundred years since the Port Adelaide invincibles beat Carlton at the Adelaide Oval to claim the Championship of Australia. The 1914 Port Adelaide team went through the season unbeaten, easily defeated VFL premiers Carlton and then beat a combined South Australian team. There were big expectations on this game as both teams had been in good form leading into the game.
The game itself was a tight affair for about ten minutes. Carlton scored the first goal and it took a while for Port to reply. From then on it was all Port Adelaide. Before the game started I was determined to get Alipate Carlile into the best players but unfortunately the ball didn’t spend enough time in Port’s defensive half for this to happen. However Robbie Gray was everywhere and when he wasn’t doing inside work to set up team mates he was scoring goals himself. Jake Neade was also enjoying himself and was responsible for many goals.
I mentioned to Justin how I will be happy once we move past the sixty point lead mark. Ten goals is a psychological barrier which when breached teams just seem to play out games. Carlton picked up their game prior to the ten goal barrier but once broken the game meandered along again. The only other time the game raised any interest was late in the final term when Port approached the one hundred point lead mark. Carlton obviously didn’t want to lose by a tonne and Port wanted a three digit victory, so a new benchmark was set. The game lifted in intensity and just before fulltime Wingard kicked a goal and Port attained the final victory.
We had just played our last game against a team outside the top eight and next week we have Freo at Subiaco for a spot in the top four. From then on it’s finals and the further we go the harder the games get. We had all had a good time at the wedding, followed by watching Port spank a team who are planning their end of season trip. We head off to our hotel rooms knowing the honeymoon was over.
PORT ADELAIDE 5.6 9.12 16.15 20.20 (140)
CARLTON 1.2 2.4 3.7 5.7 (37)
Port Adelaide: Gray 4, Neade 3, Westhoff 3, Wingard 3, Schulz 2, Ebert, Boak, White, Monfries, Hartlett
Carlton: Waite, Gibbs, White, Casboult, Yarran
Port Adelaide: Gray, Hartlett, Westhoff, Boak, Wingard, Carlile
Carlton: Gibbs, Wood, Rowe, Judd, Carrazzo
Umpires: Margetts, Nicholls, Schmitt
Official crowd: 52,505 at Adelaide Oval
Our Votes: 3 Gray (PA), 2 Hartlett (PA), 1 Westhoff (PA)