Almanac Teams – Port Adelaide Magpies: 1988-present

I first entered Alberton Oval as a five-year-old boy, it was early in the 1988 season. Back in the day, you had to get there early, at half-time during the reserves game. The crowd was always so big, we’d have to park the car at Alberton train station and then walk across the parklands over to the ground. That very first time, I had no idea that my life was about to change forever.

Nearly 30 years later, I can still see the players smash though that banner; I can still hear “Cheer! Cheer! The Black and the White”. I was hooked! I’d fallen in love with the Port Adelaide Football Club; I still am and I always will be. I’m so lucky that I grew up in what was an amazing time for this great club. So many incredible players, incredible premierships and the granting of the second AFL licence for a South Australian football club.

The following team is my Port Magpies team from 1988-present. I’ve kept this as mainly just a Magpies and have left out a number of players who are mainly known as Port AFL players, with a couple of exceptions.




Forwards:    B. Ebert, S. Hodges, D. Brown

Brett Ebert: The son of a gun. The 2003 Magarey Medallist at 21 years of age. He went on to play for the AFL team and always played well above his height, great mark and kick. I’d have liked to have seen more of him in the midfield.

Scott Hodges: My childhood hero, what a player he was. 1990, we won’t ever see another season like that again. 1994 Grand Final, 4th quarter, enter S.Hodges; that goal versus Norwood in 1996 putting Port in another Grand Final which they’d go onto win. He was the ultimate match winner.

David Brown: He was a very good player that got the most out of himself, never let the team down. Very flexible, played multiple positions, did it all very well.

Half Forwards: D. Borlase, D. Smith, M. Williams

Darryl Borlase: Daisy – What a player! Genuine football smarts. Had so much time and was amazing in traffic with great foot and hand skills.

Darren Smith: A big game player. Never let the team down and would always present a focal point. Good hands, good kick, kicked goals when they were needed.

Mark Williams: Always hard at it. He was a great leader of the young players; an on-field coach. There was no surprise he’d go on to coach and win Port’s first AFL premiership. His playing career should also be remembered.

Centre: R. Smith, J. Clayton, S. Tregenza

Rohan Smith: Just a really good, solid player with a great engine. Ran up and down the wing all day long. He had a really good kick for someone with speed.

Jeremy Clayton: Magarey Medal winner at a time when the Magpies were struggling in the mid-2000s. Very good state league player. Speed and size probably cost him a good AFL career.

Simon Tregenza: Such a good player on his wing, with lightning speed. His kicking on the run improved over time. Like R. Smith, he could run all day.

Half-backs: M. Wilson, G. Phillips, B. Leys

Michael Wilson: Hard as nails. No nonsense, he was straight at ball or body. A very good rebound runner with a long left leg kick.

Greg Phillips: I only saw the last few years of his career, but what a player he was. J. Cahill said “He never got beaten”, that’s good enough for me.

Brian Leys: A very good defender, hard at ball and body. Very underrated skills. Strong leader at the back after the retirement of G. Phillips.

Full backs: G. Fiacchi, R. Delaney, P. Northeast

George Fiacchi: A real solid, dependable player. He just got the job done time after time. Didn’t mind a bit of showboating either, which was always a good laugh.

Roger Delaney: Just like George, solid and dependable. Not beaten many times and had a very good, long kick. Always seemed to have time and was always very composed.

Paul Northeast: Yet another solid defender. Interesting kicking style, which is a fairly big understatement, but it was always effective.

First Ruck: B. Chalmers, T. Ginever, S. Williams

Brett Chalmers: A very good athlete. Big leap in the ruck and always took pack marks around the ground. In the 1992 Grand Final, the big bomb before halftime was a special moment.

Tim Ginever: The heartbeat of so many premiership teams. Small, slow and not overly talented.  However, he made up for it with toughness and commitment. Lead by example.

Stephen Williams: Huge football smarts. He never fumbled or made mistakes. S. Williams running through the middle of Alberton Oval, lacing out S. Hodges, it was a thing of beauty. If I saw it one time, I saw it 200 times.

Interchange: B. Abernethy, D. Poole, S. Summerton

Bruce Abernethy: He was a very good two-way player; defence and offence. Very versatile, playing multiple positions with a very good kick.

Darryl Poole: Very underrated player who was vitally important up forward or in the ruck. He also had the added bonus of the legitimate fear factor he brought to every game.

Steven Summerton: Was very similar to Jeremy Clayton. Super talented player ball magnet whose lack of speed and size cost him an AFL career. Still very classy at state league level.

Coach: J. Cahill

Jack was an amazing man manager who delivered the message as good as anyone. He had players that would run through a brick wall for him, they all grew a foot taller and thought they were bullet-proof after he spoke to them.


I am a very proud and passionate Port Adelaide man, the club has played a significant part in my life. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into putting this team together, I’m very happy with it and would love to get the feedback and opinions of other Port people and football fans in general for that matter (I’m on Twitter at @NathanW39506373).


  1. Great names here from the greatest club.

    It is always tough to name these teams so respect to you. Here are a couple that might be thrown into the mix but I understand why you left them out as they probably didn’t play a lot of games during your qualifying period, or weren’t at their best in that time.

    I would add, for the purposes of debate: G Wanganeen, G Anderson, W Tredrea, A McLeod, N Buckley.

    Well done, again and thanks for the trip back to some glory days.

  2. Welcome to the Almanac, Nathan! So much pain in that list for those of us that follow other teams. I can still picture Darren Smith running free across footy park in September/October – I hated him with a passion. Noting you picked the players based on their SANFL rather than AFL performances, David Hynes is another I’d consider, although he was only there for the first few years of your period.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well done Nathan welcome to the almanac and glad that you based your selections on SANFl performances and considering I umpired,Tim Ginever,Brett Ebert and Rohan Smith when they were at school you have made me feel my age ! Well done

  4. I left Adelaide at the end of 1989 so I’d probably just select the 1989 Premiership Team. I know Chalmers had more talent than Russell Johnston but I’d give Johnston the nod just before Chalmers. Johnston was a ordinary footballer who gave 100 percent all the time. You could sense him lifting the players around him.

    I’d also try to squeeze in Steven Carter. I don’t know where but somewhere. It’s also a pity Paul Belton isn’t available for this team.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Great piece Nathan, welcome to the Almanac. Nice to see some Port Adelaide love on this site, we need it from both their AFL and SANFL followers, Norwood seem to get more articles than the Power AFL team!
    Remember watching highlights of Scott Hodges in 1990, what a season.
    Was NC Buckley close to making this team?

  6. A nice read, Nathan. I reckon your family parked out the front of our shop in Station Place at Alberton. Nice.
    That’s a pretty good team there. I have to agree with most of your selections, especially Rohan Smith and Brendan Delaney. Both great Port Districts players from the peninsula. Also from Port Districts F.C. were George Fiachi and Darryl Poole. It just shows how hard it was to get a game at that club – even before the Magpies had a chance to look at you.
    I am also pleased you found a spot for Daisy Borlaise. There are also a few other west coasters in there with the likes of Chalmers and Phillips as well. On a side note, and with a bit of trivia, Daisy worked at the Australian Wheat Board due to his family’s connection with grain farming on the west coast and was the first whistle blower when the Iraqi “wheat for oil” bunfight kicked off. I was always impressed with that conscientious stand.
    Keep up the writing. I enjoyed an article about our beloved Magpies. I am a generation ahead of you but know exactly how your footy heart was captured. I was the same – except my dad hated the Magpies, despite raising his family in their heartland. I am sure his sentiments were purely confected so as to watch the indignant reactions of his six sons.

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