Round 12 – Port Adelaide v Richmond: Hold that Tiger

 

 

 

by John Green

 

As I watch the start of the game on TV I am reminded of how much I cringe at the Port Adelaide rendition of Never Tear us Apart.

 

You … you were standing, I was there
Two worlds collided
And they could never, never tear us apart

 

The song was released by INXS as a single in 1988 from their sixth studio release, Kick. Michael Hutchence wrote the lyrics. It’s a love song and has nothing to do with team sport.

 

The song was adopted by the club at the urging of president David Koch. It’s also used by the Newcastle Jets in the A-League. Scarves held up en masse by the fans? Derivative. Soccer fans have done it for decades. Scarves with song lyrics? Unthinkable.

 

Power fans need a reality check. No-one is telling you not to barrack for Port Adelaide. It’s paranoia and we don’t care who you support. You can keep your club of course.

 

I enjoyed the audacity of the Richmond fans who raised their yellow and black scarves during the community sing song. Collingwood has tried it with Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters. Great song, but moody, introspective and virtually impossible for amateurs to sing along to. It’s a failed experiment. Just let them do Good Old Collingwood Forever if they win.

 

Sure, Richmond plays Guns’n’Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle before matches at the MCG. But Tiger fans aren’t asked to hold their scarves aloft and sing it as a massed choir. We don’t even do it for Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger. It’s pitched far too high anyway and would result in most fans losing their voices before the game even starts.

 

Then again, I wouldn’t mind if the Tigers were to tear the Power apart in tonight’s game. The Richmond contingent flew west to Adelaide on the day before the match and Dustin Martin went east to Auckland to visit his father. Dusty was out of the line-up with calf soreness and would miss a game for the first time since Round 22 in 2014. This provides a good test for Richmond, given that the absence of Houli, Prestia and Rioli is already challenging the depth of the reigning premiers.

 

The bookies have surprisingly installed Port as favourites. We’ll see.

 

Two minutes into the second quarter and Richmond are up by 13 points after Anthony Miles kicks truly. The Tigers look as if they are getting on top. They still lead by two points at the 23-minute mark when the game suddenly takes an unexpected turn. Momentum is a curious force; exhilarating if it works in your favour and mind numbingly debilitating if it goes against you. Chad Wingard has been out of form so far this year but is revitalised with a move into the midfield. Jared Polec, lambasted by Ken Hinkley in the first term for his costly errors, catches fire. The Power boot five goals in four minutes to take a stranglehold on the match in one paralysing burst. Majors from Robbie Gray (twice), Polec, Motlop and Sam Gray transform a low-scoring struggle in which the Tigers appeared to have the upper hand into a growing emergency for the visitors. It’s all starting to unravel as David Astbury goes down with a leg injury and is assisted from the field. With his medical history I’m already calling up Ryan Garthwaite to make his senior debut against the Cats next weekend. This is catastrophic. Rance can’t play his marauding intercept game if his partner in crime is unable to cover for him. That’s seven goals to two for the quarter and Port leads by 23 points at half time.

 

The absence of Dusty is now a key factor. Richmond face a substantial deficit minus his capacity to ragdoll the opposition or sneak forward to score a team lifter.

 

The Tigers attempt to take control in the second half, applying their brand of intense forward pressure. Astbury returns to the fray but struggles to impose himself. Rance and Vlaustin are ferocious in defence. It seems as if Port can scarcely believe their luck and they revert to a more cautious, staid approach with the aim of simply defending their lead. Richmond toil and struggle with little to show for it. It seems that every time a speculative kick sails forward there is an unmanned Port defender sitting underneath it.

 

The Tigers dictate terms, display tremendous fight and keep rushing the ball goalward. But they lack scoring potency. They are one goal from oblivion, but Port can’t nail the sealer. Castagna receives  the handball from Edwards and sprints into the open goal to reduce the margin to 17 points just before the final break. He takes a speccy in the last quarter, something he has been threatening to do all year before converting and moving the Tigers to within 11 points at the nine-minute mark. There’s enough time, but opportunities are squandered. Grigg mistimes his leap for a mark in the square in a two-on-one situation. Caddy, the subject of so much publicity in the lead-up to the match, finds a week is a long time in football and misses on the run.

 

Port are held to a solitary goal in the second half but manage to hang on to win by 14 points. Despite all their sound and fury Richmond kick only three after half time and it’s not enough. It’s their third loss on the road this year and will no doubt result in plenty of column inches devoted to their inability to win away from their familiar stamping ground at the MCG.

 

A suggested song for the Tiger army to sing along with? How about Hold That Tiger (Tiger Rag) as popularised by Django Reinhardt, even if it’s already been commandeered by Clemson University in South Carolina.

 

Where’s that Tiger? Where’s that Tiger?

Where oh where can he be?

Low or highbrow, they all cry now

Play that Tiger Rag for me

 

Where’s that Tiger? Heading back across the border for the next encounter at the friendlier environs of the MCG. Port Adelaide is welcome in September and invited to bring their scarves along with them. But they shouldn’t expect that appalling song to be played for them.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Peter Warrington says:

    I would gladly see how we go facing Port, the Crows or the Weagles at our home ground.

    still waiting for the return game against the Crows in 2017

    however Dimma summed it up well afterwards. we are 9-3 but spluttering

    we need more run, the non-selection of Markov and C Ellis is continually worrying

  2. G’day John,

    I watched the game live on Friday night. My negative emotion towards Port supporters came when they booed Jack Riewoldt as he was awarded a free kick and scored a goal.

    Power is my second least footy club and I dislike their president.

    I felt like you to see your Tigers lost to Port. Understand your pain.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

  3. Stainless says:

    John
    It’s easy to dismiss the “Never tear us apart” routine as a lame derivatIve attempt to match really spine-tingling anthems like Liverpool’s “You’ll never walk alone”. Unfortunately supporters of rival AFL clubs have to face the fact that our own match day rituals are even more tacky and you have to admit that NTUA seems to appeal to the Port demographic. Besides, there’s nothing more enjoyable than firing up the song on Spotify in the dying moments of a Port loss. Brings the house down every time!
    Personally, I think other INXS songs would suit the club better. Kick, Bitter Tears, Disappear….??

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