AFL Round 23 – Port Adelaide v Carlton: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something teal

The NSW Port Adelaide supporter group were making their way to Sydney Airport in dribs and drabs as they were on their way to Adelaide for the big event happening at 4 o’clock on Saturday. I had packed my souvenir jumper with my name on the back just below the R for Renault. I had always wanted a prison bar jumper with the AFL logo on and finally I had one. The strange thing was none of us were going to the game.

 

I first joined the NSW Port Adelaide supporters group back in early 2007. There was a solid core of twenty fans. We were an eclectic bunch but all went on the 2007 roller coaster ride together. There were two people more noticeable than the rest. They were small, blonde, petite and they were identical twins. Vic and Cat usually organised the first goal kickers competition and were very welcoming to newcomers. It didn’t take long to realise they were as articulate and intelligent as they were passionate for the PAFC. They also never took a backward step. Anyone in the pub that thought it might be fun to rile the supporter group was soon told not to do so under a barrage of well chosen adjectives.

 

We usually watched the games at the Royal Exhibition Hotel but for a change it was decided to watch the 2007 Qualifying Final at the Alexandria Hotel instead. The publican welcomed the supporter group and did all he could to accommodate us. The Port Adelaide vs West Coast game was close and there were a few confusing decisions which raised the odd comment in the first half. At the halftime break the publican pulled Nathan, the president of the supporters group, aside and asked if he could get the group to keep the language down. Nathan said he would tell the group. The publican replied with “You don’t have to tell all of the group just the two small blonde girls at the front.”

 

As the years rolled over many of the NSW Port supporters met people outside the group, married and some were starting to even reproduce, Now it was Vic’s turn. Vic had met Rick, a young lad from Yorkshire and both had settled down back in Adelaide. When it came to organising their wedding it had to coincide with the English holiday period so they booked Carclew House on August 31st. They figured Port and Carlton would probably play on “also ran” Sunday so their guest to make it a double featured weekend. They were in disbelief when the AFL announced the round twenty three fixture.

 

Fortunately for everyone David Zaharakis put Port into the finals the week before turning it into a “nothing” game for Port. I texted Vic after Port had qualified and said I bet she was glad Essendon had beaten Carlton. She said she was. I told her at halftime of the two games (ie Port-Freo and Essendon-Carlton) we were wondering if we could sneak out between the ceremony and the reception and see if we could catch the second half of the game. She replied with “I would have wanted to sneak out too! And Rick knows it”

 

The bride arrived fashionably late by ten minutes, just as the umpire held up the ball for the opening bounce. She wore the traditional white along with something old, something new, something borrowed, something teal. The groomsmen and the bridesmaids lined up and the celebrant began just as a small bird decided to splash the bridesmaids and the flower girls with water from the guttering above. Port Adelaide 2-2 Carlton 0-1.

 

A close family friend of Vic’s, Kate Searson was asked to sing a song fitting for the couple. It started slowly and then suddenly to the tune of “Power to win” she belted out …

 

They’ve got the power to win

Marital bliss

C’mon it’s a marriage made in heaven

Their match is truly the best

It’ll pass every test

Now they’re joining the marriage tradition

He promised to the true, true, true.

She’ll say I do, do, do.

There’s history here in the making

They’ve got the power to win

They’ll never give in

‘Till there’s Fielding kids in the making.

 

Port Adelaide 3-2 Carlton 1-1

 

Next Vic’s father steps up and reads out ‘Tis the White Plum Tree by John Shaw Neilson. Not known to be poetry fans Levi Casboult and Chris Yarran kick two more behinds.

 

Port Adelaide 3-2 Carlton 1-3

Next it was time for the exchanging of vows. “I call upon everyone here today, to witness that I, Victoria Amy Rollison, take you, Richard Paul Fielding, to be my husband”.  Port Adelaide 3-3 Carlton 1-4. “I call upon everyone here today, to witness that I, Richard Paul Fielding, take you, Victoria Amy Rollison, to be my wife”. Tom Logan goals. Port Adelaide 4-3 Carlton 1-4. The rings are exchanged and they are pronounced man and wife. Quarter time Port Adelaide 4-3 Carlton 1-5.

 

The newly married couple walk about the crowd accepting congratulations. Before the crowd disperses the photographer wants a photo of everyone at the wedding. First a few photos of everyone smiling and then she asks everyone to raise their hands and cheer. I yell out “yay, we’re 16 points up”. The cheer went louder. I’m sure it was a good photo.

 

Whilst the newlyweds leave with the photographer to have their happy snaps the crowd mingles. Nick, wearing a black suit pulls an ear piece out of his pocket. He looks like FBI security operative but behaves more like a sports commentator as he continues to update us with the scores. I am quite surprised as I kept telling myself it was a “nothing game” and thought Carlton would win easily. Eventually the MC starts to usher us to our tables for the reception. Halftime: Port Adelaide 8-9 Carlton 3-7.

 

There is a lot of idle chatter at the table as the speeches start to begin. The groom’s twin brother grabs the microphone. Port Adelaide 10-10 Carlton 4-7. He delivers a very humorous speech making only a few references to the Ashes, the British and Irish Lions and dead dingoes dongers. The Bride’s twin sister is next. By this time, the red wine was starting to purge a few of my memory cells but I do remember her saying it was exactly 18 years since Port unveiled their AFL guernsey, the colour teal and the Power emblem. Apparently the fist holding the lightning bolt was similar to one of their entered designs. Port Adelaide 11-11 Carlton 5-11.

 

We tuck into our meals just as the three quarter time siren blows at AAMI. I choose the beef dish, whilst my wife assures me I should have gone with the chicken. Port Adelaide 12-11 Carlton 7-12. During the meal I start getting text messages from friends who are Carlton supporters. All around me the Port supporters have their AFL Live apps open on their smart phones. Sharon looks across at me nervously and puts up ten fingers. Port Adelaide 12-11 Carlton 10-13. I reassure her with “It’s a nothing game”.

 

I get a text message from Carlton supporting friend, Peter Psaltis, “I can’t believe it. What is going on?”. I inform him “Port started planning for next week at three quarter time. You can have eighth spot”. Port Adelaide 13-12 Carlton 14-14. I go up and get desert and by the time I get back I have been informed Broadbent hit the post in the dying minutes and Carlton hung on to win by a point. Port Adelaide 15-13 Carlton 15-14

 

Psalty messages me “OMG!!!!!” and I reply with “Are the any injuries to any Port players?”. He replies with “I can’t believe it!!! I don’t know and I don’t care”. Another Carlton supporter text me and thanks Port for lying down. I text every Carlton supporter I know and say “Now that we are in different halves of the draw I’ll see you all at the Grand Final”. The unanimous sentiment from them is “I hope so”.

 

The dancing starts to begin and the game is soon forgotten. There is universal laughter when we hear the Crows have smashed West Coast and ended up with better percentage than Carlton.

One Port supporter described it as the best one point loss we’ve ever had.

 

I watched the game the next day and the prison bar jumper was great. Seeing Brad Ebert kiss the jumper after kicking a goal let the rest of Australia know how much the jumper means to us long term Port supporters. I hope to see it again in some form or another in the future. As for the game itself it was a beauty. A high quality game which pulsated from start to end. A great finish and a good way to send off Football Park. Carlton can have their win, and as Port walked off with no injury concerns I feel happy. As far as I’m concerned the real football start this weekend. But as good as the game was and as much as I would have liked to have been there I was happier to be at the wedding of two good friends. It was a great wedding and, I have no doubt, will have a happier ending.

 

 

PORT ADELAIDE      4.3   8.9    12.11   15.13   (103)

CARLTON                  1.5   3.7     7.12    15.14   (104)

 

GOALS

Port Adelaide: Ebert 4, Schulz 4, Westhoff 2, Monfries, Boak, Logan, Young, Wingard

Carlton: Murphy 3, Garlett 2, Yarran 2, Betts 2, Simpson, Kreuzer, Gibbs, Curnow, Waite, Bell

 

BEST

Port Adelaide: Ebert, Cornes, Broadbent, Schulz, O’Shea, Colquhoun

Carlton: Murphy, Gibbs, Walker, Betts, Yarran, Curnow

 

Umpires: Nicholls, Meredith, Pannell

 

Official crowd: 45,127

 

Our Votes: 3. Murphy (C), 2. Ebert (PA), 1. Gibbs (C)

 

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Most amusing Dan I am amazes you didn’t Qualify for a Prison Jumper long ago no seriously a well written piece
    Geez Collingwood v Port who to barrack for ? Nothing which a bomb at the G wouldn’t fix !
    Good luck to the couple who Got Married as Dan would say May Bob be with you

  2. Brilliant summary of a perfect day! I never would have thought any day could be perfect if it included a
    Port loss, but now that I’m all grown up and married, maybe it’s time not to be so black and white (and teal) about life. Life is a rich tapestry after all. When Port loses to the disadvantage of the Cows, it just goes to show there is always a silver lining.
    Thanks Dan, this write up is brilliant. Thanks for coming to our wedding instead of going to the game!

  3. Kate Searsob says:

    May I please point out that I am a CROWS supporter and the only reason I wrote and sung that song is because Vic and Rick are such great people.
    K.Searson

  4. Hey Dan – how was the food at the wedding? What wines did you have?

  5. Terry Davies says:

    Great read. Almost as good as tonight’s game

    Go the Power.

  6. I’m glad you were able to find a positive in allowing Carlton to make the finals. Your last quarter laydown feels fairly accurate now too… As much as I love the prison bar jumper, can they not have at least one player wearing a lace up version?

  7. Nice story and amazing how technology has changed in the the few years since..can now watch games on the mobile phone while at the ceremony…

    hope the beef was ok after all,

  8. Sniffer the Greek Kangarpp says:

    Great Write up Dan you combined the Wedding with the Footy beautifally
    Well done

  9. Sniffer the Greek Kangaroo says:

    Sorry didn’t check the spelling Go Valdemar

  10. Jeff Major says:

    Fabulous article Dan – exactly as I almost remember it

  11. Kumon Topomi says:

    Very nice write up Dan, I remember that night in 2007 at the AH, the Wet Toast supporters were not very friendly. All the best to you Vic and Rick.

  12. King of Passion says:

    Great entertaining Write up Danny but 1 Question remains unanswered was
    Doctor Bob Neil Paged at the Wedding ?

  13. Mirco AKA NWSPOWERFAN says:

    well done! the NSW SG has a heritage of its own now and we are very proud of anyone who come and goes through the transient nature of the group and its location, we make friends there that last a lifetime.

  14. Nick Raschella says:

    Great wedding and a great write up Dan.

    Vic was very lucky it was a dead rubber otherwise I might have left the wedding at half time. But the radio and earpiece was a minimum requirement.

    Rd 23 Was all about player management and it didn’t matter if we won but I guess losing by a point had it’s serendipity.

  15. Wren Thomas says:

    Great wedding story. I remember Mitch & Linda’s wedding back in 1990 … sometime during September … pre smart-phones … and many people literally running out of the church (almost a push in the back to the happy couple!) to check finals footy scores in their cars :)

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