VFL Preliminary Final – Port Melbourne v Richmond: How long can you harbour a grudge?



I’m not the kind of person to harbour a grudge but like all long time petty rivalries, sometimes you have to harbour a grudge because it’s a family thing. A long time grudge; which is why I took perverse satisfaction when the Tigers downed the Boroughs at Port’s home ground on Saturday. Yes, I know that the moral thing is to support the old school local footy teams, the amateurs, the part time professionals who have to take on the pros from the AFL, but I just couldn’t.


You see this goes a long way back…all the way back to when my grandfather and his three brothers all turned out for the Tigers in a game played against the Boroughs at Port. Those Port supporters were a feral mob and ultra violence was a way of life on the terraces of the Port oval, and the Port players were even worse. So bad were they that half the Richmond team refused to take the ground after half time because they feared for their safety. Its always been a sense of pride in my family that my grandfather and the other three Watson brothers were amongst the few who decided to play out the game. They were undermanned, and yep, they were flogged.


But they stood firm against the mobs of Port even when their exit from the ground was blocked by hordes of hooligans, so much so that the police were called to escort the Richmond team from their rooms after the game had finished. There was no ‘Roaming Brian’ in the rooms after the game back in those days.


So yes, I have harboured a kind of perverse grudge…from back in the days when the Tigers were still in the VFA; all the way back to the cold early Spring of September. September 1898!


Do you reckon I’ve taken it a little bit too far?



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  1. You need to build a bridge and get over it. The thuggery on Saturday came from the Richmond player Jake Aarts who took out TOS junior with a late hit leaving him in hospital.

  2. Murray walding says

    I’m sorry that you didnt recognise this as being very tongue in cheek…

  3. I hear there are South Adelaide supporters that still haven’t forgiven the introduction of the electorate system in the late 1890s!! :-)
    The VFL Grand Final a couple of years ago was a cracker – when Port came back against Richmond

  4. It certainly was, and despite worries that I’m living in the far distant past, I’m not, and I enjoy watching the VFA no matter who’s playing and who’s winning. I really pine for games played on those old suburban grounds with their lovely stands.

  5. Know what you mean Murray. My footy season is spent at SANFL grounds – mostly Prospect.

  6. Ah, Murray, I remember that 1898 game. Geez, Port were a dirty bunch back then! Sweet revenge after 121 years!
    Seriously though, while it’s very nice to stand on the terraces at North Port Oval surrounded by those now very pricey workers cottages and watch the remnants of the VFA punch above their weight against the AFL affiliates, your piece, though tongue-in-cheek, highlights the dark side of “grass roots footy”. Port Melbourne was a tough, violent area that produced a tough, violent footy side. We shouldn’t forget the nasty stuff in our sentimental musings about “the good old days”
    BTW Saturday was a cracking game and a worthy sequel to the Port-Richmond Grand Final of 2017. On both occasions the winners were thoroughly deserving.

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