1986 – A Year With The Blacks Round 18: Focus Puller

What a week we’ve had in Adelaide. It’s been hosing down all week, it’s wetter than the front rows of a Bay City Rollers concert.

Adelaide's Premier Home Entertainment Venue

Adelaide’s Premier Home Entertainment Venue

I’ve been virtually housebound, but it was fortunate that last week I spent the what was left of my Lawrie Pash SA Sesquicentenary Sports Literary Grant on the latest model video recorder from Focus Video on West Terrace. Among the handful of weekly tapes that I borrowed from the Arthouse section were Trading Places, The Fly, American Werewolf In London, Flying High, Porky’s, Pacific Banana, Alvin Rides Again, The Box, Meatballs 3, Red Sonja and a few others from that special room down the back behind the curtain. Money well spent, that’s for sure, as I’ve locked in to home entertainment technology that can only be described as future-proofed. Betamax, video, I’m set for life, mark my words.

I made it out for the final Blacks minor round games, but I’m truly annoyed because most of them have made finals as well, which will mean that I’ll have to wait until October before I can borrow the latest copy of Electric Betty Blue Velvet 13.

23rd August 1986 – Round 18

A1 – Griff’s Groaners

Adelaide Uni 8.8 lost Riverside 8.18 (Port Adelaide Reserve)
Goalkickers: Tasker 2, Dadds, Eaton, Eckert, Moy, Pavolvski, Schulz
Best Players: Whaley, Williams, Dadds, Moy, Antonello, Foster

With The Kid’s goal production shrivelling as he starts to hit the piss regularly at the Dover knuckle down to his homework, my seasoned eye can spot a team on the skids, as they limp into third place. See if you can pick the odd one out in the best players.

Making up the finals numbers, Griff and Co can start making holiday plans for a couple of weeks. They’ve avoided relegation, I guess you can say that much for them.

A8 – Glamour Side

Adelaide Uni 12.9 def Port District 7.8 (Largs Reserve)
Goalkickers: Maddern 7, Burfield 2, Dutschke, Etherton, Verrall
Best Players: Doran, Dutschke, Etherton, Maddern, Hansen, Lange

What a surprise, as the Glamour Side sneak the minor premiership with a limp win against the bottom side. They lost by a poultice last time against Kilburn and I’ve seen no need to suggest any different result in the finals.

Coach’s Notes: The Invisible One David Bassanese returns to the team. Young has a day out and kicks seven of what could only be described as very wide goals. Duran Duran has a night out and is best afield. The Chinaman also has a night out and is rated least valuable player. The Levitator is forced to come off the ground half way through the last quarter. He is suffering cramp in his jaw from over-yawning.

A9 – Sty Council

Adelaide Uni 2.4 lost Scotch O.C. 3.6 (Park 9)
Goalkickers: Ball, Fahey
Best Players: Stendt, Marinoff, Young, Thomson, Goodwin, Fulwood

Noah’s Ark 9 was a swamp, more suited to water sports than our great Australian game. Like my new favourite actress Brigitte Nielsen, Scotch has taken on all comers this season and come out on top each time. The haggis munchers out swam and out muscled the Council in a hard slogging affair, letting them know who is boss. Uni’s mid-range defenders earned their keep, but the big blokes and the little fellas went missing.

The next few weeks look to be a formality as the Torrens Park toffters look set to turn the arrogance dial to 11 (it’s one arroganter than 10) and make a clean sweep of the A9 season. If it only takes three goals to knock them off, I don’t see much chance of Sty’s mob next week against Scotch in the Second Semi.


Mike Gucci did the rounds of the rest of the Blacks teams. He came up with this. (Gawd help SA footy journalism if this is the standard we’ll get if he kicks on. Unlikely)

A3 – Unbelievable. This lot have strung together eleven wins on end to finish in second spot, finishing with 12-6 after a 1-5 start. Burfield and Birchall have provided the bulk of the scoring. They look the most likely Uni side to bring home a flag.

A1R – A 7-11 record and seventh spot was the result of Sticks Fanning having an unsettled side throughout the year. Peter Russo overcame the enormous handicap of being a mate of Rulebook Ashwood’s to take out the B&F.

Peter Russo-Clarke

Peter Russo-Clarke

A3R – The Half Hour nabbed second spot and are sitting pretty at 13-5, although their recent form is middling at best. I’m tipping that they’ll hit the finals full bore. Put them down for a flag.

A10 – These guys peaked a bit early, 1979 to be exact. A 9-8-1 fifth placing will let them put their feet up, although I think they may have already done this a few months back. Youngster Nick Hobbs was a deserving B&F winner.


Nick Hobbs

Nick Hobbs

A11 – Wennie van Liniment’s Scum let the club down by making finals with a 12-5-1 scorecard, although they tried hard to miss out.

Gordon “Green Door” Agars

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I scrolled down having my usual giggle until the picture of Peter Russo while we males are gradually getting better depression is still a huge issue with the are you ok a fantastic iniative,Peter took his life over 10 years ago now and it is still something I struggle with big time wondering what else I could have doneRIP Peter a fantastic mate

  2. Swish, it’s not my era, but I am guessing the loss was because all but one of the BPs was a former Teacher!

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Clearly I was unaware of Peter Russo’s death when I put this together. I’ve spoken with Malcolm and he emphasised that this needs to be talked about more openly and he has no problems with the piece remaining as is.

    An extract from the Annual Report by Sticks Fanning

    “Without question Peter Russo was the best performed player in the side, finally gaining recognition for his efforts late in the season and promoted to the A3 side. A particular feature of Peter’s game was his versatility, being asked to play at full-back, back pocket, roving and centre, in each case displaying a strong attack on the ball with good skills”

  4. Jeff Milton says

    Swish where do you get all of these photos from?

  5. Well done Swish and Book. Pete was a great clubman and these sentiments are valid and valuable.

  6. Jeff Milton says

    Swish I like Malcolm originally knew a young Peter Russo from Payneham Cricket days but had had no contact with him since the 80s and was very shocked and saddened to read Malcolm’s comments above. No way you could have known.

  7. RIP “PR 1964”. One of the best blokes. Also played the best pull shot in history one day at Old Collegians. Played some ripper games in the A3’s at the end of the season and should have played the GF.

    However, I am starting to remember the reasons for the renaissance of the A3’s. The Pav. He played some ripping games before being stolen by Griff. I always said we should never have put him the BP’s. Or at least, I’m sure I should have said that.

  8. Rulebook. …it’s often I reflect on a classic Russo comment( with smirk on face) and more often I realize how much I miss a bloody good mate.
    I too wonder if I could/should have done more., what if?
    If I hear that any of my mates are struggling these days I ensure we talk openly and honestly.
    R.I.P. Pete.

  9. Ah, the good old Focus Video. Bought an upmarket Panasonic VHS Stereo HiFi VCR from them in about 1986 and it cost me $1,500 !!!! Then the sound was still crap thru the TV speakers. Bummer.

  10. Pacific banana! Hadn’t thought about Pete Russo for quite a while. And brings to mind a couple of others that suffered the same outcome. RIP.

  11. Earl O'Neill says

    Cortina Mk2 outside Focus Vid.

  12. Looking forward to your finals reports Gordon – I trust you have copies of any premierships stored away on your Beta Tapes ready for unfurling at the 30 year reunions.
    Great work as always.
    RUOK rules!

  13. Troy Hancox says

    Great Read, brings back a lot of memories of the good times!
    the 80’s were a great era.
    I first met Peter Russo in 1986.
    We both did carpenter/Joiner apprenticeships (he finished his whilst I started mine.
    We hit it off immediately.
    I worked as a second year under Peter’s guidance.
    He was a tradesman then, I a boy. (as we got called back then)
    Peter’s advice, comedy (up there with the D generation), knowledge and friendly nature drew me to a special bond (not saying we were best mates – but I would of been equal 1000th – he didn’t have an enemy – he could not possibly!!)
    Our work (Mossop Constructions back then) formed an indoor cricket team.
    Peter held this team together for 20 years!!
    I also played against him when he played hard wicket for Norwood ANA – opening bat at the time.
    even as an opponent he has great!
    I love(d) the bloke immensely, shedding tears as I type.

    Thankyou Malcolm for tagging me in this story.
    These are tears of joy!

    R.I.P a true Gentleman.
    I will see you again buddy.

  14. Dan Hansen says

    I don’t have many memories of the game at Largs Reserve except for breaking past an opponent when 60 out and thinking “a bounce, steady and then go for the goal”. The only problem is Faulkners don’t bounce on beach sand. I remember the coach saying to me at quarter time “Just kick it long …. and wide”.

    I have plenty of fond memories of Pete though. A calm reliable defender and A3 Reserves premiership team mate with a dry sense of humour. Sitting in the Welly (ie the Wellington Hotel) I was reading the Football Times one evening and realised the corner of the paper was on fire. After putting it out I turned around to see Pete laughing. I aslo recall going to a few early Crows games with him however I missed the famous “Cornes for Colombia” game.

    I have special fonds memories playing a cricket game once where I was sending down my Lillee-esque thunder bolts whilst Pete was keeping. After being clubed around the ground Pete came up and said, “I don’t think gentle medium pace is going to do it. Can you turn the ball at all?”. I switched to leg spin smorgasbord and got my best ever bowling figures of 5 for 20 (inc. hat trick). The best cricket captaincy since Chappelli introduced sledging as an expected practice.

    RIP Pete.

  15. Peter Russo – A true Adelaide Uni Blacks gentleman. I feel privileged to have known this man. The world is a sadder place without him!

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