AFL Round 1 – Melbourne v Port Adelaide: A splash of Teal on Tatau Island

It’s finally here, round one, and after a lot of changes at Port Adelaide I have a fair bit of opening round optimism. We now have a new head coach, new senior assistant coach, new fitness coach, new captain, new president, new sponsor, decent pre-season form and some of the dead wood has run off to Richmond and Fremantle.

I would love to be at the MCG today but unfortunately I’m working on the remote northern Papua New Guinean island of Tatau, where there is no television or radio. The exploration office has a wireless internet system that is so slow that only those with some sort of mystical romance of dial-up modems from the 1990s could possibly enjoy. On a clear day you can pick up a faint mobile network so I may have to resort to texting friends to get match updates. This could be a different report for the Almanac.

But let’s turn the clock back a couple of months. I first found myself working on the Tabar Islands in November of 2012 and it became immediately apparent that the locals were sporting heathens, as they only followed Rugby League. On my second day there I was quite surprised when I saw someone walk past in a highly faded Crows t-shirt. I approached and asked where he got it from. He told me that he bought it in Kavieng many years ago and that the Crows were his favourite Rugby League team. From its appearance I figured someone benefitted from the confusion created by the Superleague wars and must have been selling excess stock shortly after the Crows last premiership.

A few weeks later I told him that when I returned from the Christmas break I would give him a Port Adelaide t-shirt and he could rid himself of any association with draft tampering, salary cap rorting and all things Kurt Tippett. He was excited but mostly due to the promise of a new t-shirt rather than from ending his rabid support of the Crows Rugby League team. I returned in late January with three old Port Adelaide t-shirts and promptly handed one to the former Crows supporter and the others to two of the better workers.

However I digress. I still had my problem of writing a report based on nothing but text messages. Then a bit of luck came my way. The workers asked for Easter Sunday off. After a nanosecond of thought it was granted and I was on the first banana boat to Simberi Island gold mine where they have satellite internet and television, and the possibility of live AFL. Before leaving I tell the workers with Port Adelaide t-shirts that they have to wear them on Sunday as it will be good luck. Unfortunately upon arrival at Simberi I find out there is no television coverage of the MCG game but the internet is quick enough to stream radio coverage. The Duck, Schwatter and the Hammer’s commentary is infinitely better than text messaging friends.

The commentators build it up as a battle of the young guns, especially the close friends and debutants Wines and Viney. As the first quarter progresses the names Wines and Viney feature prominently and Port dominate all the key areas. The second quarter is the same as the first and by half time Viney leads the Demons contested possessions count and Wines is only one contested possession behind Port Adelaide leader Boak. This statistic explains why both clubs have struggled in recent seasons.

The second half is all Port Adelaide with the commentators saying that Melbourne are as bad as they were in 2009. I wonder if Jack Watts’s brother is playing in the U/18 championship this year or should the Melbourne CEO ask the AFL for their $500,000 back. In the end Port Adelaide win by a comfortable 79 points and are top of the table for the first time since round 7, 2007. Immediately after the game I jump on a boat and arrive back at the Tomalabat exploration camp to see a splash of teal wandering around the accommodation blocks and the mess room and I think … life is good.

Votes:  3. Hartlett (PA),  2. Brad Ebert (PA),  1. Viney (M)


  1. It’s hardly surprising to see the fickle Poort supporters jumping on the bandwagon after two wins over the two teams that will most likely finish bottom two. And it’s almost a decade since the Power won flag and the “onePoort” Magpies aren’t doing much worse. It will be interesting to see how long into the season the author still thinks “life is good”.

  2. Dan Hansen says


    Anonymity suits you well … and yes, after round 3 life is still good.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    A interesting report Dan especially how you have touched upon the huge differences of lfe on Taihu Island and I am writing this the day after Port have beaten the Colliwobbles so unfortunately Life is still good for Danny and yes 1 of the deadwood went missing for
    Richmond today in a Big Game yep Life Death Taxes and Chaplin to be crap
    Certainties in Life

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