General Footy Writing: All over, bar the weeping

By John Kingsmill

Every year fifteen teams run out of air. Some are shot early in the season; coaches walk, players have operations, fans think about a second team or go back to reading books.

Two teams exit in the first week of the finals. Two others tease their fans only to experience a ruder shock after the second week. The prelims are always tears for some and then, on grand final day, everybody has a quiet weep on the side.

It’s a mystery given that fifteen teams lose every year that the AFL manages to sustain its market. Footy fans have a huge ability to swallow decades, if not a lifetime, of hollow shallow loss.

South Australian fans, in particular, are just beginning to wake up to the cold reality of joining the Melbourne-based national competition.

The era of domination by the new teams is now over.

Since the sixteen-team comp began in 1995, the non-Victorian teams have made it to the grand final thirteen times and won eight of them. Excluding Fremantle, the duds of the modern era, five interstate teams have shared 57 per cent of the glory over the last fifteen years, an achievement way over their collective weight and outside of the socialistic charter of the AFL.

For a while, the Victorians expected the new teams to use their foundation benefits, home ground advantage and new money to steal some cups; they waited patiently for the tide to turn. In the last two years, with all-Victorian grand finals, it finally has.

Given the AFL’s equalisation policies, each team should now expect to win a grand final no more than once every sixteen years although, with two duds, Fremantle and Richmond, you could make that once every fourteen years.

However, with the introduction of two new teams in 2011 and 2012, there will be more turmoil around 2016 when their baby squads mature. One commentator has warned us to expect those two teams to raffle the cups between them for an entire decade, given the unprecedented advantages they will have in oncoming drafts.

Both Adelaide and Port improved their standing in 2009.

Adelaide glimpsed their future through new players Andy Otten, Kurt Tippett and Patrick Dangerfield, with Taylor Walker and Jared Petrenko in the wings. Bernie Vince became a big-game elite player, Brad Symes became a key component in the packs and they created a functional, unpredictable and dynamic forward structure with their defence remaining sound even after Nathan Bock was injured. Their four old veterans had stellar seasons, Trent Hentschel returned to kicking goals and was tested successfully in defence,  and their ruckmen grew up.

Adelaide finished seventh in 2008, full of holes and doubt. They finished fifth in 2009 with their front foot one step closer to a flag.

Port’s improvement was only nominal, from thirteenth to tenth. Their 2006 five-year plan is in the bin. With no Burgoynes, an unstable coaching arrangement and a stadium deal that almost ensures that the club remains under financial strain, 2010 may be Port’s third horrible year in a row.

Mark Williams is now an undervalued coach and, in spite of the club’s denials, Dean Laidley is his coach in waiting. Will it be six months or two years?

It’s been a torrid media year. 5AA has had its first season without Kenneth George Cunningham, the Australian inventor and patron saint of talkback sports radio. The company ditched him last year because their internal polling showed that motor mouth Stephen Rowe, ex-Norwood and Crows player, and weekend game caller, was their most popular footy personality.

Stephen Rowe and co-host Graham Cornes have had a rugged partnership this year, lacing their fixed format for three hours every afternoon with a succession of domestic disputes. It’s been less than dignified radio for themselves, management and the listeners, who have been left wondering whether they really loathe each other or whether this is meant to be edgy radio.

They talk over each other and use every opportunity they can to score points when one of them stumbles. Rowie mangles the big words; Cornsie often loses his papers or has trouble reading the clock.

An aside. Here is something that has bugged me for years. 5AA takes Big Melbourne Names of fixed days each week, usually at prime drive time, around 5.10pm. This year, it’s been Rex Hunt, Robert Walls and Nathan Buckley. Graham Cornes, running the desk, usually keeps them waiting for an extra two or three minutes, prattling on about something or reading listeners’ emails. It seems to me to be a deliberate snub to the interstate guests, forcing them to hang on the line listening to the insane Adelaide drivel before they’re invited on to strut their stuff. It’s as if Graham Cornes wants to keep them in their place. It’s a little power play that drives me mad.

But back to the squabbles. Rowe accuses Cornes of betraying off-air confidences; Cornes accuses Rowe of thinking and saying one thing in the office and saying the opposite on air. Rowe objects to that accusation of hypocrisy. Cornes rams it home. It seems a painful engagement for both of them; it’s certainly painful for the listeners. Why does 5AA management allow this dysfunctional schoolyard-bullying situation to pan out every day?

There are two sides to every story, of course, but at the moment listeners have no access to either of them. We continue to listen because over a few decades KG set up 5AA drivetime sports radio as an essential component of the South Australian footy experience. If these two tragics continue to trash the brand, management should know that, one by one, footy fans will find a better way to fill their space.

Our current fascination with how bad things can become has a finite currency.

And Michelangelo Rucci in the Advertiser? He had a solid year unravelling Mark Williams’ control of the club and did some excellent work explaining Port’s stadium deal which, at the moment, locks them into a sustained financial crisis. Rucci did some good work, too, on the Adelaide Oval saga after the AFL revealed its desire for AAMI to be scuttled and the grand inner city venue to become home for both SA clubs.

But he and a few of his Port travellers let themselves down with the Adelaide choking tag after week two of the finals.

Adelaide did not choke.

They had only beaten one team in the top four all year and that was Collingwood in Round 1. Adelaide was not a top four team in 2009. They did very well to come back late in the fourth quarter in the second week of the finals to give Mick Malthouse the biggest scare of his life.

Adelaide was a rock-solid genuine fifth contender this year and took one step closer to its dream. It was mischievous and diversionary for the Port-aligned commentators to imply anything else, given the appalling nature of Power’s season.

Postscript

Very amiss to wrap up the year without a comment on the grand final.

I watched it with a bunch of Adelaide and Port supporters in a leafy eastern suburb. I fired up the host’s barbecue at noon; someone served party pies and shiraz at half-time (a brilliant combination, by the way); someone else served vanilla slices and pots of tea at three-quarter time (and that works well, too).

We all wanted Geelong to win; most of us still thought that St Kilda were a bunch of puffed-up fakes who were yet to earn the right to win a grand final, given their indifferent approach to the task over the last decade. Most of us thought that if the footy gods were still alive, Geelong deserved to win because they were a genuine team, not a bunch of self-serving stars.

We love Gary Ablett Junior, for example. He’s one of the few individuals in the game who performs at the elite level who is also incapable of faking his natural, genuine and almost naïve modesty. We like Geelong for their team-orientation, their fair play and their solid culture. We don’t think they are the best team ever, yet. Brisbane still holds that mantle but Geelong may become so. Footy is never over.

In that light, we also thought that Gary Ablett Senior was still better than Gary Ablett Junior, but only just. BabyGazz has plenty of time left to win that argument. There were two memorable moments on Brownlow night – Adam Cooney planting a kiss on Gary’s bald skull and Gary’s quick grin which embedded nobility into the players’ code … and Gary saying that he was pleased to be able to go home and show his father something that he had never won. That was a Shakespearean moment of the highest order – a son reshaping his father’s life – and only Gary Junior could do that, with modesty and without conceit.

On the other forgettable memorable Brownlow moment, on Brendan Fevola’s Downfall, it should be said that many parties shared unequal portions of responsibility for scenes that disgraced the national game. Channel Nine were employing him, for starters, and continued their contract with him when it should have been obvious to them that he was in no condition to perform in their workplace. The Club should have known that he was about to be given a microphone and a camera and that he was in no state to represent himself or them in a befitting manner. Other parts of the Electronic Visual Media had a choice on whether to treat Brendan’s behaviour as newsworthy content, or whether to limit the damage to the code by not broadcasting it.

The League should have been aware of all media in the room, especially the electronic broadcast media, and they should have been aware of the potential for a problem. The Venue should have been aware of the law concerning the serving of alcohol to intoxicated people. Fevola’s teammates should have realised that one of their most valued players was in an extremely vulnerable position. Other footballers, active and past, could have intervened but didn’t. Any member of the Players’ Association who was present could have made the judgement that Brendan needed assistance to be relieved of his media duties and be put in a taxi and sent home before he damaged his career. Unions are meant to be concerned for the welfare of their members. And, of course, there is the responsibility that Brendan should face, himself, alone, and spotlit by the industry, for his failure to contain his behaviour within acceptable social and legal limits while intoxicated.

I don’t know how to divvy up the responsibility quotient. I don’t know at what point who should intervene. No one does. But there were two moments out of that whole event that were very disappointing for a mature nation.

One was a YouTube clip that had two freelancers hanging around the front door. “Look! Fevola is completely wasted. Let’s get in there!” Making news out of someone’s misery is … it’s more than questionable. It’s evil.

Secondly, Sam Newman’s statement on Adelaide radio that if Nine doesn’t show Fevola’s StreetTalk tonight, I’ll resign was morally bankrupt. His argument that Nine criticises others and thus should show its own when they fail was humanely negligent.

Back to the grand final and a caveat: Grand finals invite harsh judgments, the taking of sides. The world is suddenly reduced to only two teams. As Paul Kelly once noted, it’s impossible to watch a game of football and not want one of them to win.

But, having said nasty things about St Kilda above, Lenny Hayes is my First Choice Footballer in the competition at the moment. If I was starting a new team at the Gold Coast or in Western Sydney, I’d make him captain and build a team around him. I’d choose him even before BabyGaz.

Lenny is everything you’d want a footballer to be.

While watching this game and wanting Geelong to win, I also wanted Lenny Hayes to win. His time will surely come – Brownlow, Norm Smith and some more grand finals.

Maybe, if he fell in love with an Adelaide girl …


Comments

  1. John,
    You know I don’t get it. Cunningham was a joke on radio. Cornes an embarrassment. Don’t listen!

  2. John Kingsmill says:

    Yes, but, Crio.

    I’m addicted to a footy fix from 4-7pm on weekdays.
    Where else can I go in Adelaide?

    Don’t send me to FM radio! I’d rathe eat lentils.

    Don’t lock me into 3AA or SEN on webradio.
    This is a mobile time of the day. I want to get away from my computer.

    When 5AA totally fails me, I switch to 5TAB for the early dog races.
    That plugs a sort of sporting hole with air bets as they jump out of the boxes but it’s not always satisfying.

    In any case, I disagree with you.

    KG Cunningham and David Hookes created good radio – a good partnership of plain and dare.
    Over the years, KG became sensible, a modifier of other egos, a carrier of historic morality, a sort of SA timelord.

    You had to be there for his entire journey to witness that change in his significance.

    But you are correct about Cornes.

  3. John,
    Download podcasts to listen rather than resort to Angle Park or 5AA.

  4. pauldaffey says:

    John,

    I’m writing from afar, but it seems to me that the AFL made a stupid and near-sighted mistake in admitting Port Adelaide.

    The WA people seem to have got it right in admitting Fremantle to exist as a sort of anti-West Coast. Freo supporters come from two WAFL clubs as well as those north of the Swan River who’ve got a grievance against the Eagles.

    No one who’s got a grievance against Adelaide, or simply doesn’t like the Crows, seems to follow Port. It seems that Port supporters were Port supporters in the SANFL. Their supporter pool is very shallow.

    Can the AFL admit its mistake and take away Port’s licence? Maybe then it could introduce another club that would be a viable second SA alternative.

    SANFL clubs include North, South and West Adelaide. Why not make the second AFL club East Adelaide? Or the Adelaide Hills FC (nickname Hillbillies?) This might appeal to supporters of Norwood and Sturt, among others (nickname notwithstanding).

    What about the Adelaide Churches FC? Sorry, that was misjudged …

  5. Rocket Rod Gillett says:

    I reckon the AFL were right to include Port Adelaide into the competition given that they supposedly had over 30% of Adelaide footy fans support them in the SANFL. They were after all real footy club with a great tradition and the wherewithal to step up to the AFL.

    The issue is that Port are seemingly unable to grow their supporter base; it seems they haven’t been necessarily able to capture all their fans from their SANFL days. While down at present, even when they were going really well in the AFL they still couldn’t draw the crowds that the Crows attracted, except when they played each other.

    A couple of possible solutions:

    1. Take the Port Adelaide Magpies out of the SANFL.
    2. Align SANFL clubs like West Torrens-Woodville, West Adelaide, and Central Districts with Port

    Norwood and Sturt people, maybe even North Adelaide fans as well are never going to follow Port.
    Too much antipathy over a long period of time. While same is true for all clubs in the SANFL, those named in 2) are more culturally-aligned to Port from what my mates in Adelaide tell me.
    Mind you, they’re either Double Blue or die Redlegs, and still go to see them play in the SANFL.
    Its too late to form an eastern Adelaide alliance – they’re now committed to the Crows.

    I can’t help but wonder what might have been if Port Adelaide had have been admitted the first time they applied to join the AFL…

  6. John Kingsmill says:

    Taking Port out of the SANFL won’t help. The Magpies are broke and poorly attended, too. At the most, that would mean another 300 or so Power season tickets.

    Port have maximised their traditional market; they are failing to appeal to a new market.

    Not having the Power and Crows playing on the same day would help. The real problem with Port is their 10-15,000 no shows on match day. Footy supporters are staying home for a doubleheader barbeque, watching both games live on TV, one at home and one away. This hurts Port in particular. They are making a matchday loss for crowds under 27,000 which is often.

    If Port had entered the AFL before Adelaide, the situation would have been a complete disaster.
    The Adelaide Crows created its sellout membership from ten real SANFL clubs (including Port supporters). Those clubs all had a long and true heritage and took that heritage into the AFL

    As you say, Port only had 30% of the local appeal. The ten SANFL teams had 100%.

    As for Port being a real club, their original squad had few Magpies in it. The Power is as fabricated as any modern AFL club. Those appeals to their old legacy get thinner and thinner every year… that legacy is almost meaningless to anyone born after 1980 or so.

    You are wrong too, I think, about Port not appealing to Norwood or Sturt people. My girlfriend was a Norwood member and hated the original Crows team because she thought they were more Glenelg than anything else… and she hated Glenelg more than Port.

    Until Port Power can build its appeal outside of Alberton, they will always struggle to fill AAMI stadium on a regular basis, unless they playing Adelaide, Collingwood or the current blockbuster team. In that sense, Port is just like any other fabricated AFL club… and without the two Adelaide showdowns every season, they’d be out of business.

    I always thought it was a strange decision for the AFL to allow licenses for Fremantle and Port Adelaide, trying to create new regional or community-orientated clubs in WA and SA while, at the same time ripping the community or regional aspects out of all the Victorian-based clubs (bar Geelong) by taking away their home grounds.

    It was a confused decision which had more to do with politics than good common marketing sense. The SA footy audience is paying for it now through the gate, and through the nose.

    But not on TV. Everyone in Adelaide watches Port on TV. Everyone watches nearly everything on TV. And that will probably be the case with the two new clubs too – flops at the gate, especially in western Sydney, but big national ratings for Monday night footy.

  7. Peter Schumacher says:

    As a Norwood supporter or at least I was before I left South Australia in 1977 I found your analysis really interesting and informative. I am amazed that Port Adelaide’s supporter base has evaporated, I always thought that they would really go once they went national.

    Like the idea of ditching them and forming the “Hillbillies”.

    I am not across the politics of the media in South Australia I find most of the national coverage, the ABC and most of the television commentators and Patrick Smith being honourable exceptions, pretty bloody ordinary.

    As a Lions supporter but with my South Australain juices flowing, carn the Crows nest year. It was interesting by the way that they were not involved in any trades, shows a fair bit of confidence in their current list.

  8. John Kingsmill says:

    Peter, I don’t think Port’s supporter base has evaporated. I think many have bought plasma TVs and paidTV contracts and have chosen to support their team in that way, rather than season or day tickets.

    It’s an expensive exercise taking the family to the footy.

    There are various ways to fix the problem – a brand change, playing more profitable games in Darwin or Tasmania, creating a better stadium deal with SANFL, increased grants from the AFL, adding more value or content to the season ticket (other sports and/or goods), making the tenth year free to new members, or one free kid for every two adults, … we will probably see a mixture of all of these things.

    And if everything fails, they can fall back to the old favourite which sells just about everything – free icecreams for kids!
    -o-

    Jonathon Griffin put his hand up for a trade but no other club wanted him. Adelaide said they were happy for him to stay. Tippett has signed for three years and the four veterans will go around for another year. It’s a very happy club at the moment.

  9. pauldaffey says:

    John,

    Everything you wrote above makes sense. Very interesting, too.

    But if it’s as fabricated as any other non-Victorian club, why not just start again with a club that might have statewide appeal?

  10. John Kingsmill says:

    And what team would that be, Daff?

    I think the SA footy market is no larger than 60,000 in terms of those who attend games.

    That’s 40,000 Crows hard core and 20,000 Port hard core.
    Of those, I reckon there are about 5,000 who attend both.

    SA has to increase its live footy market overall for any second team to become viable.

    It’s interesting to ponder, though, that if the second team had been formed on the basis of North or South of the Torrens, (Crows One and Crows Two – a Victorian nightmare!) a decade later we might have had average attendances of 35,000 each for both clubs, and not the 40#/20# discrepancy we have now.

    ACTUALLY, THAT’S STILL NOT A BAD IDEA.

    If Port rebranded as Adelaide Power and put some red and yellow into their jumper, they’d have half a chance of becoming solvent.

  11. James Curran says:

    Dear John,

    Your simple sample survey of one, even if she is your girlfriend, needs a much more broader sample.
    Why don’t you come down to the Alma on a Friday night and talk to the lads that play for the PAC Old Scholars, most of whom either follow Norwood or the Double Blues, not necessarily the Crows, but all loathe Port. If you can find a Port fan, we’ll get mine host Roo to shout you a beer!
    Let’s keep Port Magpies in the SANFL so we can keep beating the weak so-and-so’s!!!

    JC

  12. James Curran says:

    John, you’ve got it all wrong, the Port supporters haven’t bought plasma TV screens and subsribed to Foxtel, they’re staying at home to watch it on TV while drinking Wild Turkey & Coke!

  13. John, just on the 5AA thing: You are right, of course, about KG’s historical status in Adelaide radio – but his time had passed. Thing is, I don’t think Cornes’ time is very far away either. In fact with hindsight, I wonder if KG + Rowe would have made a better combination!

    I used to think Rowey was a clown. Well he is :) but I’ve gained a greater respect for him now that he’s a regular. He wears his heart in his sleeve, bless him, he’s not afraid to make a call and he’s got a good combination of passion and footy knowledge.

    Your asessment of the Cornes vs Rowe slanging match is spot on. It makes for terrible radio and is one of the reasons I hardly listen any more. Cornes in particular is like a dog with a bone on some things and he is just incapable of “agree to disagree, let’s move on”. Almost every time a discussion/argument is extended beyond its useful life, Cornes is the cause.

    His desperate attempt to blame Neil Craig for the SF loss to Collingwood was one of Cornes’ worst moments. When R Walls came on, Cornes pushed at him to agree on the coaching, even though Walls did not want to say that Malthouse “won” the coaching.

    If I didn’t have a life, maybe one day I’ll sit down and time the sports show and take out the ads and the pointless bickering, and see how much actual content there is :)

    The Sunday Roast is far and away the best 5AA sports show, especially for the more respectful way they treat callers (and I think they attract a better quality of caller, as a result).

    Rowe, Wildy, McDermott and to a lesser extent Dittmar are the best of 5AA’s talent at the moment. I think it’s only a matter of time before Cornes is replaced by one of the others.

  14. John Kingsmill says:

    I think you are spot on, Richard.

    Is G.Cornes’contract up this year?

    The Saturday morning Roundtable is up for a huge shakeout, too.

  15. Tim Dixon says:

    John, as a Port supporter I am at a loss as to why Port supporters don’t go to games to support their club. I was a season ticket holder from ’97 to ’99 when I moved interstate, but on my return to SA in 2005 I have only been to two games.
    I think we are very critical of our side and almost as a matter of course “expect” the success we enjoyed with the magpies. I wonder if the Power had had the entry concessions of say a Fremantle, or the new Gold Coast side when we entered, then we would have had more to show for the years 2001-2004. I read somewhere that over that period when Brisbane won 3 flags to our 1 we actually won 1/2 a game more than Brisbane in total over that whole period. With a beefier squad from the outset we may have won more flags and therefore kept more of our supporters attending matches due to this greater success. I really don’t know the answer, but I certainly believe we deserve to be in the competition, and like most of our supporters hope that greater success is just around the corner.
    P.S if possible can you let us know if the 2009 Almanac will have a launch again in Adelaide this year, as I greatly enjoyed last years. Cheers

  16. John Kingsmill says:

    Thanks for your post, Tim.

    The Power is in a hellhole at the moment and have to work their way out of it.
    And they will.

    But let’s not forget that already Port has achieved more in the last decade of the modern competition than most of the other participants. Their premiership in 2004 was simply superb and even Crows supporters acknowledge that. To back that up with another grand final appearance in 2007 was also a mighty effort, in spite of the awful thrashing that happened on that day.

    As the last team to enter the new AFL, Port’s measuring stick should only have been Fremantle, the second last puppy to be admitted to the pound. But, strangely, from day one of Port’s entry in the AFL, Brisbane became their benchmark or the team they wanted to beat more than anyone else. Even more, I suspect, than the Adelaide Crows.

    In those early years, Brisbane and Port had some wonderful contests, often with both teams winning away but not being able to win at home. Plus two extraordinary draws. A new rivalry was born. It was a special thing for Port to stop Brisbane’s three-peat of cups.

    All of this had a lot to do with coach Mark Williams being an ex-Brisbane Bear player. I believe he had a personal interest, there. I also believe he is more of a bear than a lion. And that on any level playing field, lions will normally gouge bears. One year, though, he changed that. A bear clubbed a lion.

    You wrote: “I think we are very critical of our side and almost as a matter of course expect the success we enjoyed with the magpies.”

    Yes… well… [yawn, sorry]… all fans are critical of their sides and all fans expect success. Write a letter to Paul Daffey when you have a spare moment and ask him if he thinks Richmond are a chance for the 2010 cup. You should not be surprised by his answer. The last time I asked him that question, he said they were a shoe-in.

    And, I think, as an outsider of your club, the sooner Port people put the magpie legacy to bed, and even bury it as an inappropriate marketing tool for the modern age, the better chance Port Adelaide has to expand its market and address some of its 2009 problems.

    Clinging to a proud heritage is one thing. Facing the problems of remaining solvent and paying everyone’s wages each week is another.

    On Fremantle… you say some very strange things there. That Fremantle had better entry concessions than Port. If I was a Port supporter, I’d be very glad that Port didn’t have Freo’s entry concessions. Whatever those better concessions were, Freo has been, and is, and looks like remaining the basketcase of the competition for a long time to come.

    The amazing thing about Freo is that they have have achieved so little but their season-ticket holders and their match attendances hold up, year after year after year. In fact, the worse it gets for Freo, the more their supporters rally behind an ever increasingly distanced cause.

    They are the worst side in the league but they have the best supporters in the southern hemisphere. They have amazing fans.

    Port has a different problem. They are emerging as the new North Melbourne – success on the field that fails to generate a healthy box office. That’s a structural marketing issue, more than anything else. Professional marketing people in that club are paid to fix it. It’s about time they did. If they can’t, sack them and get some tertiary marketing graduates who can. Or, and they could do worse, take a bank loan and put me and a few of my mates on a salary of $300,000 per year for five years. We’d get them out of their hellhole. Five years later, we’d buy BHP. Two years later, we’d buy Manhattan.

    I agree with you that Port ‘deserves’ to remain in the competition. With two grand final appearances in the last five years, Port has stamped its claim on the league and is here to stay.

    They just have to fix their current onfield and off-field financial problems. They, and the SANFL, will.

    On your postscript about the Adelaide launch…

    Yes! There will definitely be an Adelaide launch of Footy Almanac 2009. John H, Paul D, the Melbourne proofreaders and the Adelaide design team are currently working their butts off, with a huge workload coming this weekend, to get to press early next week. And Number Three is going to be better than ever. 120 Knackers!

    The Adelaide launch will be sometime in the first week in December.

    If you, or anyone else in Adelaide, would like an invitation to the Adelaide launch, please send an email to tabloid@internode.on.net as soon as you can.

    You only have to say that you want to be added to the invitation list.
    We will make sure that you get all the details.

    I enjoyed last year’s launch. I’m really glad that you did, too.

  17. timbo1964 says:

    John, thanks for the reply.

    I agree with you whole heartedly about the Brisbane thing, I was living in Townsville in 2004 and spent the whole grand final day yelling (and receiving!)insults from my front verandah to all and sundry in the neighbourhood. We had the whole front of the house decked out in Port “finery” and I am amazed we did not get assaulted. Townsville is an amazing place sport wise, they have a national Rugby League team, Basketball team and now Soccer team, I believe they could also support an AFL team such is their love of sport.
    Living in QLD I ranked the lions number 17 out of 16 in the comp. I did and still do LOATHE them, so its not just chocko.
    I remember after the 2004 GF going to the bottle shop to buy a couple of bottles of Moet to celebrate (having had 2 “large” at $4.20 on the TAB), and the bloke behind the counter saying to us, as we are all decked out in scarves, beanies etc, that he loved port, ‘cos being a Collingwood supporter himself we had stopped Brisbane winning 4 in a row.
    I have probably watched the 2004 GF 150 times and it still literally brings a tear to my eye when chocko walks down the stairs balling his eyes out knowing we have won.
    Talk about wonderful supporters, the hard luck story of that year is my good mate Gus, who had been living on T.I (Thursday Island) since 1997, he was a Maggie and Power member forever and for the 7 years after he left Adelaide paid his Power membership and the extras to guarantee him a GF seat if and when it happened, and jeez we went close a couple of times 2001-2003. Anyway he let this all lapse in 2004 and as we all know we made the GF and won. Not to be undone though the poor bugger paid $1800 to fly from T.I to Townsville to watch the GF with us, after all we had just paid a grand for a new wide screen TV to watch the game. It was a wonderful day and we created a bit of Alberton in the tropics, including driving around town the next day with scarves out the windows taunting the locals!

    Sorry for the rave John, I sound like a tragic and it really has nothing to do with your blog, I am I suppose, just trying to say that the passion for the club is still there for me, (even though I don’t go to games), and I must admit (and this hurts!), I think the 2004 GF was the best one for passion since you blokes won in 1997, don’t tell anyone but I bought the video, when that aboriginal bloke,(cant think of his name but his brother played for port), kicked that last one to seal the game, the look on his face to me is one of the best moments in AFL.
    anyway thanks for listening, got it off my chest I suppose.

    It all has to do with how much we love this game.

    cheers

    tim

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