John Kingsmill’s Footy Diary

Round Eight
Port is a Mess, Revisited

Skip from Skipton was wrong when he wrote
that Port versus North at AMMI was an Eight
Tarpaulin Match. On the day, ten tarpaulins
covered huge sections of the Outer, protecting

the venue from its emptiness. And, with only
14,508 people there, all of us could have sat on
the members’ side. The outer could have been
one great tarpaulin with most gates closed and

Port could have made profit from its sterling win.
And I was wrong, too, saying that Port is a mess.
They’re been in a messy place, there’s no doubt
about that. After the final siren, when most players

sank to the ground, Jacob Surjan rose from the turf
grinning and crying in the same pass. His face
was a torture of pain and joy and relief. He sought
his teammates as a bewildered child seeks

his mother in a tube station during a bomb raid.
In the outer, grown men hugged each other as
if life was worth living again. Port were back!
Not for next week, mind. Port were back

for one glorious unbelievable moment. Here
is the team that has failed to grasp its stick
for a couple of years. Here is a team that
has dipped its head, given up, flipped the hard

ball to the next confused teammate on the line.
Here is a team that played awful footy for two
quarters and a half, turning it over, refusing
to attack. And then, suddenly, out of the rust

and the despair, and the entropy, something
clicked. Nearly six goals down in the last,
they lifted. They scraped and constructed
some winning movements. And they lifted again.

And constructed a win out of the last seconds
as if they are playing the closest thing to a final
they will see this year. Wins always disguise flaws.

Brad Scott was petulant, moody in the presser.
Pricklish. He treated the first two questioners
with rude contempt. He was worse than his brother
Chris at the Geelong/Collingwood post-match

conference the night before. Chris stood up
and nearly walked out because a radio station had
its feedback at too high a level. Sensibly, he sat down
again and avoided a report and a fine. Brad settled

down, too. The two Scotts don’t like coaching
losing teams but they are not alone. Most of
the new young coaches wear their uncurled hearts
on short, skinny, thread-bare sleeves.


Port screwed me on a couple of fronts
this weekend. I dropped Naitanui and ran
Kreuzer and Tippett as my tap men and
they had a miserly 26 taps between them.

My Ultimate Footy opponent, Seaman had
Dean Brogan as his ruckman, but that was
a dodge. Brogan wasn’t selected. Seaman’s
reserve ruckman was Port’s Brent Renouf

who had 42 sensational taps against the Roos.
This was Sandilandesque. I was outcoached,
and lost that crucial UF outcome, slipping
from second to third. I’ll regret my cockiness

last week, for the rest of the season.


  1. North is a mess.

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