Any Port in a storm


by Paul Harkin

The morning of the match was a bit of a haze, after my 60th birthday party the night before. I hope everyone received their invitations, because only a few of you attended.

The journey to the ground was uneventful, as it was hard to find a single person in Port colours (who could blame them). We settled into our seats in the shade on the city side of the ground and waited for the fun to begin.

After the week from hell, Collingwood was looking for a win to silence the critics and knockers. If we couldn’t muster a win today, the Prayer Room at Etihad would be chock-a-block.

The Pies were into it early, despite Port scoring the first goal. The further the quarter went, the further we stretched our lead. Although, there were a number of scrubby goals to Sinclair and Sidebottom, the pressure was good early and goals were coming regularly. Our kicking let us down throughout the match, with Johnson, Sinclair, Fasolo and Swanny shanking it better than I do on the golf course. These resulted in us missing golden opportunities. Johnson’s resulted in Port goaling up the other end. The backline was holding up well considering the height they were giving away. Harry was everywhere. Port were bombing the ball and Harry was reaping the possessions. A 33 point lead was more than enough at the quarter time break.

The lead extended to 38 points early in the second quarter and it was a matter of how far. It was then that the tide changed. We spend periods of time without getting our hands on the ball, and when we did we butchered it all over again. Wellingham and Goldsack were the main culprits. The scoring dried up in this quarter and it was becoming an arm wrestle. They seemed to be getting the better of the 50/50 free kicks as well. We took a 19 point lead into the main break.

We started to look slow and were not clean enough with the footy. The early period saw both teams sharing the goals. We were keeping just enough distance between us to keep the blood pressure in check. Turnovers were killing us. The Harry kick to Buckley was a prime example. Both were at fault. Harry for the terrible option, when Buckley was hot, and Buckley for trying to mark a ball when “Sergeant” Schultz had the drop on him. Buckley’s comment of, “I know nothing”, doesn’t wash with me. The highlight of the quarter for me was the great chase and tackle by Clokey, which resulted in him kicking a goal from outside 50. Lachie “Johnny O” Keffee took 2 terrific contested marks in this quarter deep in defence.

Phil Cornell’s comment that he didn’t understand why only 6 of the 21 goals scored so far were to the Lockett End, or is that the Fletcher/Lloyd end, was ringing in my ears, when the final stanza began. The 2 teams spent the first 10 minutes of this quarter doing circuit training. The ball would come in from one flank and go out the other. This was fine as we started with a 33 point lead. Our last quarters haven’t been great this year, and this was no exception. The only consultation from our one goal was they only kicked 2. Both sides looked pretty tired by this stage. Hardly a stirring win, but we did what we had to do and that was securing the 4 points.

The train journey home was eventful. Our carriage was invaded by a group of about 12 youngish men, who must have been inspired by The Voice, Australian Idol, Young Talent Time, Australia’s Got Talent or the local Karaoke Bar. They broke out into April Sun in Cuba and followed up with a number of 70s and 80s hits including Africa (not sure whether this was the Toto or the modern version).


  • I’m not sure what our strategy is for kick-ins, but when the man in front got up to go out, I half expected him to take one. Fair dinkum what happened to the notion of a designated kicker? Just about everyone had a go, including Wellingham, who of course crossed the kickout line. I know Marty Clarke butchered one, but I’d rather see him than Harry, Wellers or Goldsack, who all had a shot at it on Saturday.
  • Some of our players who have been down, started to show some glimpses, like Maxy, Dawes and Goldsack.
  • Swanny is getting his usual numbers of possessions, but has forgotten how to kick in the early games this year.
  • Pendles put in his usual high possessions game, but hard to see too many Brownlow votes for him.
  • Sinclair is pushed aside too easily. He needs to tougher up if he is to survive.
  • I like Fasolo. They say he has played 17 games now, but he was sub so often last year, that he is really only a first year player. Why sub the same player over and over (Seedsman seems to be the one this year)?
  • Our kicking skills have to improve or we will really struggle against quality opposition this year, especially if we don’t have the boundary as our security blanket.
  • Clokey is a gun.
  • Last year I nominated Keffee as our most improved. I was a year early.


I ventured to the State Library on Sunday to look up some old tennis results of mine in the Melbourne dailies from the 70s. As I was trawling through the sports pages, I couldn’t help but notice some of the footy stories. The one that caught my eye from 1975 was a short story announcing that Ron Barassi held a press conference after the weekend’s match. This was said to be the first such occurrence of a post-match press conference by a coach. It also said the North Melbourne, Barassi’s team, had won that day.


3.       Travis. Other players rack up more possessions, but Travis plays in the hardest position and rarely loses a one on one. 17 possessions, with 9 marks, 5 contested and 4 goals, is a great return for a key forward.

2       Harry. He butchered a few kicks, but showed some of his old dash and flare. Mind you, playing spare man in defence is an easier gig than minding a rampant Eddie (Betts, not McGuire). He played a very good first quarter, which is where the game was won.

1       Keffee. He held an undersized defence together with some excellent contested marks. Last year he played like Ben Reid did in his early games. On Saturday he played more like the mature Ben Reid (ignore the 2011 Granny). His kicking skills are good and he is exerting good pressure in the marking contests.

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