Round 3 – North Melbourne v Port Adelaide: In the name of the father, the son, and the holy goallllllll!

North Melbourne v Port Adelaide

April 18th, 2015

Round 3

Etihad Stadium, Melbourne


Football royalty comes in all shapes and sizes. Ablett, Lockett, Dunstall, Quinlan, Watson just from my ear watching football. Port Adelaide royalty the same. Bradley, Wanganeen, Buckley, Tredrea are names that roll off the tongue. How about Father Tony Noble? No real recognition. There should be. Father Tony Noble, a now retired Anglican priest has had as much to do about defining the modern Port Adelaide Football Club than any of those great on-field names. And Noble’s influence was again seen (like it is every week at PAFC games) at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Not on the field, but behind the goals at the Yarra River end. For this was where the Port Adelaide Cheer Squad was stationed in all their glory, hustling and bustling and making a ton of noise.


Father Tony Noble, along with a couple of comrades in arms was the founder of the original Port Adelaide Football Club Cheer Squad back in 1965.


And on Saturday night, with Noble sitting in the stands watching his beloved Port Adelaide Football Club, some divine intervention wasn’t out of the question with four minutes to go when North Melbourne snatched back the lead in a pulsating, thrilling contest.


This was a game where Port were desperate to get their season started with their first win, and North Melbourne were equally keen to make a statement to the rest of the competition that the days of under-achieving are behind them. Both teams could walk away feeling that some of the early season doubters had been silenced, at least for now.


This was a contest that defined the first three rounds of AFL football; gutsy, fierce, one-on-one battles, digging deep and crunching body on body. North played under duress without Wells and Del Santo, and lost Siebel to a lung injury that sent him to hospital coughing up blood. Courage. Ollie Wines, a man who generally despises ‘resting’ on the bench was finally culled by a severe wrist injury that will see him sidelined for some weeks.


Both sides needed to win, in fact couldn’t dare contemplate losing. A daring opening from Port, with Ryder dominating and White, Broadbent, Gray and Pittard leading the way went kamikaze style at the ball and body, and should have lead by more. North hit back. The lead changed and late in the last North pulled back a 15 point lead to snatch the lead and what seem to be the match.


Sitting behind that Yarra River end goal the Power faithful yelled, cheered and probably pleaded for a miracle; for one more effort that would create a goal to get the team over the line. They got it from an unlikely source. Kane Mitchell, never a first team starter was at the right place at the right time when good work by the tireless Schulz and Gray ended with Mitchell having a shot on goal with 26 seconds to go. His major settled the game, finally.


The noise as the ball sailed through was deafening. The cheer squad’s flags rose as one, and hugs were had between strangers brought together by the love of a club that often defines them. They could have glanced to the stands to dip their Power caps to Noble, who started this crazy gang of life’s misfits, street urchins and dock-dwellers all those years ago. At Bell’s Hotel at the pre-match function, Noble waxed lyrical about his time as a priest, and the dynamics of religion in the 21st century, but he truly lit up when he spoke of the early days within the cheer squad. Sleeping out overnight before the 1965 SANFL Grand Final, continuous odysseys to the MCG and Football Park and a love affair with a club that many treat as their real religion. Those fans behind the goal have a debt to pay, and few of them would have realised the man owed that debt was sitting less than a Travis Boak drop punt away the entire evening.






  1. Port have got soul like my mob don’t at the present time.

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