AFL 1997 – Twenty Years On: Port Adelaide (9th)

Port finally got its way in 1997. This extended list (thanks to the Football Record) of forty-six wasn’t all used, but more than half of those that got on the park were gracing AFL arenas for the first time.

A dozen or so had played elsewhere, Gavin Wanganeen the stand out in that regard, and Jack Cahill had coached the Magpies of a different variety a decade or so earlier.

Port looked set to make the finals until a late season splutter reaped only a draw from their last five games.

Eight of this list featured in the Power’s 2004 premiership. A few went on to find success at other clubs, others developed into fine footballers for Port, some did both.

But I suspect there are many interesting stories about this hastily assembled collection. Please tell us more if you can.

(PS – Is it just me or did #17 Nigel Fiegert model himself on our own Rulebook Ashwood?)

List Management


AFL Debuts 1997: Peter Burgoyne, Tom Carr, Stephen Carter, Mark Conway, Jarrod Cotton, Stephen Daniels, Stuart Dew, Donald Dickie, Nathan Eagleton, Nigel Fiegert, Josh Francou, Roger James, Adam Kingsley, Brendon Lade, Bowen Lockwood, Darren Mead, Darryl Poole, Damian Squire, Nathan Steinberner, Warren Tredrea, Michael Wilson

Players Kept Under Wraps 1997: Scott Bassett, Rhett Biglands, Paul Evans, Scott Freeborn, Tom Harley, Mark Harwood, Jake Lynch, Scott Mathews, Andrew Osborn, Jonathon Yerbury

Never Heard of Him: Mark Harwood

Delistings/Retirements end 1997: Scott Hodges, Stephen Carter, Scott Freeborn, Andrew Osborne, Jake Lynch, Jonathon Yerbury, Rhett Biglands, Mark Conway, Damian Squire.


You can review all of the AFL 1997 lists here

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. A young side and predominantly drawn from the SANFL. Surprising they did so well considering it has taken GWS so long with all those great draft picks.

  2. Shayne Breuer played some top footy at Geelong in his time there, however one must qualify. When Geelong played well, he played well. If the pressure was on you never saw him.

    Good luck to Port Adelaide for picking him up.


  3. Chris Weaver says

    Darryl Poole was a solidly-built, not overly tall ruckman. He had a ponytail and was blind in one eye.

    He got reported for whacking someone from Geelong with a Ditterich-style raised elbow. He them blamed the indiscretion on being wary about getting attacked from the side, due to his lack of peripheral vision. I think he still copped a ban.

    Bowen Lockwood had to retire in 2002 due to a bad back injury. I understand he still struggles to walk even today.

  4. Mick Jeffrey says

    Won’t see such a lopsided goalkicking tally at this level again, 70 to Cummings, 70 between the next 6 leading goalkickers. Oh and Stuart Dew was actually pretty thin at this time….

  5. Biglands moved on without playing a game! Forgot that! Heuskes could play, and gee, he was an exotic cat.

    Chris Weaver- I recall that Lockwood could’ve been anything, but injuries didn’t allow him to really get started.

    I may be wrong, but reckon Nigel Fiegert came from Cowell, on the West Coast, where the other, probably more famous Nigel, Adelaide’s number 7, also spent some time as a youngster.

  6. Dave Brown says

    Lots of memories of these guys in the SANFL that year. Most vividly Garry McIntosh snotting a comparatively willowy Stewy Dew in the prelim, in one act rubbing himself out of the GF but actually sparking the Redlegs to make it. Forgot Steinberner and the Redlegs’ current coach had spent time on Port’s list. Steinberner ended up with a few premierships under his belt. And, no, 21 is not me (the resemblance is uncanny).

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Agreed Smithy

    Glen – Breuer was one of many “good ordinary” players that came across to Port

    Chris – thanks for that, you keep coming up with the goods

    Mick – was Cummings hungry or just their best option?

    Mickey – Fiegert won a Mail Medal for Lucindale, so he may have been very widely traveled

    Dave – Sad to say that I didn’t know who the Legs coach was.

  8. Well played,Swish give you that one good to see plenty of Redlegs !

  9. Ben Footner says

    Showdown 1. A dark day. Urgh.

  10. Ben Footner says

    Actually another memory – one of the girls in my school class (was in yr 12 that year) was Port obsessed and managed to win a competition with an SA based TV footy show (can’t for the life of me remember what it was called) for Scott Cummings to come and visit the school and hand out pies and pasties (no doubt Balfours or Villis).

  11. Earl O'Neill says

    Darryl Poole, the Exploding White Mouse of football.

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Finally got you ‘Book. How did the Redleg blokes like it at Alberton?

    Ben – I’m pushing for an MCG Showdown once every couple of years. Cummings ate them all.

    Earl – if Poole was twenty years earlier he could have played with Black Chrome (and Teal)

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    How many of them were players Port kept out of the draft and in the SANFL before joining the AFL?

  14. Who knew Francou and Dickie had hair? Or sensible hair anyway. Lockwood did go out with a bad back, but a couple of weeks ago at a Power AFL game he came out to do the bit silly “kick the first goal” routine before the start. He did look to be walking not much worse than many other old players and had a son with him from memory, so perhaps life has not been all bad.

  15. Mick Jeffrey says

    Fancy Cummings was their best option considering Tredrea wasn’t ready (17 year old kid), Hodges probably didn’t really want to play at the level (content with his SANFL mates) and a lot of the smaller options were needed in the middle where experience and a little class was needed to be competitive.

  16. Luke Reynolds says

    Have memories of watching Scott Hodges playing for Port Power on TV, must have been a pre-season game??

  17. Ray Yasten says

    Unfortunately, Hodges was cooked by that point. As recounted in his recent book, the injuries were piling up, he had no real chance of breaking into the team and he felt a real disconnect with the Power as a result. Ultimately, as with many of the stalwarts from that dominant Magpies era who were eagerly awaiting Port’s promotion, time just ran out.

  18. Todd Winther says

    Mark Harwood was drafted from Tasmania, about 6″2, half forward flanker. My recollection was that he didn’t play in 97 (as you mention), but played six games (?) in 98. The major problem was that he and Bowen Lockwood were exactly the same type of player without Lockwood’s (very occasional) moments of brilliance.

Leave a Comment