AFL Round 3 – Port Adelaide v Adelaide: Thank you for faulty keypads

I first came across the Elrec multi-channel induced polarisation receiver back in the mid nineties and immediately fell in love with it. Not only could you take ten readings at once but it was small, light weight and readings could be dumped straight onto a laptop. Prior to this we were using a Scintrex single channel receiver that was the size of a briefcase, was quite weighty and data had to be written down and hand entered into a Lotus 123 spreadsheet.

I started my third stint on the Tabar Islands in Northern Papua New Guinea on the 14th of March. With a bit of luck I thought I may be able to finish the survey in early April and make it back to Adelaide for my niece’s 21st on the 13th of April. However, the early days of the survey weren’t good with daily rain causing delays, a strike and labourers selfishly demanding to have the Easter break off.  By late March we still had at least three weeks of work to do. I rang my wife and told her she will be flying to Adelaide alone. It wasn’t good.

The third of April was a nice sunny day on Tatau Island. We arrived at the survey site early and I was hoping for a productive day. Then I get a call on the two way radio from the receiver operator. “We have a problem”, he said. “What sort of problem”, I replied. “A big problem, the keypad is not responding” was his response. “I’ll be there in five minutes” I told him and started the climb up the steep incline through jungle so thick it makes the Kokoda trail look like an easy stroll through Fitzroy Gardens. After pulling the receiver apart we could not find an obvious problem and later that day I was on the one hour banana boat ride to Simberi Island to see if any of the electronic technicians there could fix the receiver.

The next day the technicians got back to me and said there was nothing they could do and my boss in Bangkok told me he had found out keypad seizure was a known problem with this type of receiver. He said he would try to organize a replacement receiver as quick as possible. The next day he said it could take up to two weeks to get a replacement receiver and it would be best if we took a two to three week break before resuming the survey. You beauty.

This meant that after doing a bit business in Rabaul I could be back in Sydney on the 10th, be in Adelaide for my niece’s 21st on the 13th and be at Football Park on the 14th for Showdown XXXIV. After frantically organizing flights on the world’s slowest internet I was scrambling up to the helipad where there was a faint mobile phone signal. I sent text messages to all my friends and family in order to try to secure a Showdown ticket. The replies came back quite quickly and there wasn’t any good news. The most positive was from my brother who simply replied with “We should be able to get you in”.

Upon arrival in Sydney there was a letter awaiting me from the Port Adelaide Football Club. I didn’t realise it but my country membership allowed me to get a general admission ticket to the showdown. In previous years it allowed me entrance to five games a year, excluding Showdowns. I went online and downloaded a ticket to bay 122. At least I was in but I would rather sit with my brothers in the members area.

After a fun filled 21st celebration on Saturday night it was over to my brother’s house in Queenstown for a Sunday afternoon roast before going to the game. My brother managed to secure four tickets in the members area meaning I now had a spare ticket. The solution was easy. Just give the spare ticket away.

We arrived at West Lakes about an hour before the game and there was still a fair bit activity outside Aami Stadium. As we were walking around one of my brothers was keen to get inside and get a good seat. I told him I still wanted to give my spare ticket away. In a haze of confusion my other brother found someone looking for a ticket. The guy was wearing a black t-shirt and I assumed he was a Port supporter. I told him I had a spare ticket and he asked me how much I wanted for it. I said he could have it for free and told him to enjoy the game. Then I noticed a Crows scarf in his other hand and said “You’re not a Crows supporter are you” and he said “yeah sorry, mate”. I then said “Ah well, don’t enjoy the game too much”. I reconciled it with my brothers by saying my act of generosity will have the Football Gods smiling on us.

The game itself was one for the ages. In the first quarter Port had the majority of the possession and played with the greater intensity. However poor skill errors in the forward fifty cost us dearly. On the other hand when the Crows got the ball they used it better and finished off when they had the ball in attack. At half time Port was 15 points down but I felt the score line did not truly reflect the state of game.

The third quarter started much the same as the last two. Port did most of the attacking and scored a string of behinds while the Crows would rebound and score goals. I still had the feeling that with a bit of luck Port could turn it around. It was half way through the third term and Port were 31 points down when the behinds started to turn into goals. First a contested mark to Westhoff and he goaled from 35 out on a slight angle. The turning point came shortly afterwards. It was Westhoff again and this time he was on a tight angle outside the boundary. He slotted it from 40 metres out and Port was back in the game. For the next 30 minutes it was all Port Adelaide. The Crows did have one chance to arrest the onslaught when Matthew Wright had a shot from 45 metres out. Instead of having a set shot Wright made a decision that made Kim Jong-un look rational and handballed to Jaensch who was immediately tackled by Schulz. Port rebounded the ball, scored a goal and evened the ledger at three quarter time. Half way through the last term Port were 24 points up and suddenly seemed to take the foot off the throttle. Once again Port supporters had to endure 15 minutes of hoping Port didn’t try to milk the clock and as a consequence blow the lead. They handled the pressure well and when the final siren sounded Port were victors by nine points.

The bus ride back to Alberton was a festive trip and the beers at the clubroom were cold and tasted a little bit better than usual. Nearly twenty years later I still love the Elrec multi-channel induced polarisation receiver, even more so now that I know its keypad has a known fault … and happy 21st Miranda McDonagh … thanks for the invite … it was a great weekend.

Port Adelaide  5.2       6.9       12.13   17.16 (118)

Adelaide         4.4       9.6       13.7     16.13 (109)

Port Adelaide: Westhoff 4, Boak, Wingard 3, Wines, Monfries 2, Broadbent, Neade, Schulz
Adelaide: Walker 3, Douglas, Sloane, Jenkins 2, Dangerfield, Henderson, Reilly, Otten, Petrenko, Porplyzia, Johncock


Port Adelaide: Boak, Westhoff, Hartlett, Jonas, Wines, Wingard

Adelaide: Sloane, Thompson, Douglas, Dangerfield, Henderson

Umpires: Fleer, Schmitt, Hay

Official crowd: 40,707

Our Votes: 3. Boak (PA), 2. Westhoff (PA), 1. Hartlett (PA)



  1. Mark Duffett says

    Port supporter. Geophysicist. Excuse me while I take my world view down for maintenance.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Ditto above I enjoyed the report of your work and the difficulties involved more than the bloody game
    Mirandas Present Clearosill ? Encyclopedia ?

Leave a Comment