Power Failure or Costume Malfunction by Ian MacRae


Life for a footy follower in the West is a little like being on a diet: you only get fed every fortnight. So when at the table, eat more than your fill and store the rest for the coming winter of deprivation. Sound philosophy. That is unless you had a season like 2008. As an Eagles supporter……I starved! Unfamiliar territory that is best left in the past. Let’s just say that humility has now been added to the arsenal of character.


Throughout the week the scribes had dined on the bully-boy tactics of Brogan and Port’s exclamations of how tough they like their footy. Players have memories, and Cornesie was letting the world (and Andrew Lovett) know that they had etched in their minds the taste of revenge that is retribution. All very colourful stuff , but lurking in the back of my mind was the voice of my high school teacher: “Empty vessels make the loudest noise”. 


So it is in that context that I began my Palm Sunday journey towards the Holy Citadel that is Subi Oval.  Ever present in the back of my mind was our nine-goal fadeout of the previous week in Brisbane. A strange odour of ’08 hung in the air.


But today was about returning food to the table


Any fears that may have lurked in the stands were soon dispelled when the enemy entered the field of battle. My God, what were they thinking? Pale Teal with white socks and boots. They looked more like the background dancers in an Olivia Newton John video clip. Instantly, the fear dissipated. This wasn’t a threat; it was a John McEnroe impersonators troupe, minus headband and mullet.


As quickly as the siren sounded, any fears of ’08 faded. Selwood was free of run-with duties and gathered possession after possession. Rosa was on the end of a string of searching handpasses.  Hurn seemed to infect the whole team with his determination to drill the ball long through the corridor.


This much maligned creature that is the Eagles forward zone had options left, right and centre. Ash Hansen continued to push up as a marking option. The Big Q had a few defenders shorten their steps as contest after contest spilled the crumbs for the fleet of foot Le Cras and McKinley.


Thirty minutes of attacking football had the Power’s brains trust in disarray and it showed on the field in the minds of the players. The normally skillful Power was left to look indecisive and overwhelmed. Memories of my high school teacher’s dictum echoed with the avalanche of goals that followed.


It seemed as though all that all the Eagles had lost was now found. Players hitting targets. Accurate kicking, almost always through the middle. Pressure on the ball carrier. Incisive handpasses and knockons. Half-time had arrived. So had the Eagles.


Yet, the threat of a second-half fadeout lurked.

Enter Daniel Kerr. The first quarter saw the little bloke carrying the weight of Cornes and Carr, excess baggage that umpires continue to ignore. In scenes reminiscent of others who have worn the blue and gold, Kerr exploded on the field as he made a statement that perhaps his misdemeanors of the past were exactly that. Sixteen possessions and two goals for the quarter should earn him a few Charlies by season’s end. The revival that was anticipated from the Power camp just didn’t arrive. Power seemed to have their minds on other matters. Perhaps it was next year’s round against Essendon, or perhaps the multitude of after match celebrations for their milestone players and their WAGS.


Many questions predicated this match. Many more had been raised by its conclusion. The third and final terms were from the same script as the introduction. Same players, same lines. Any hope of a Power revival was just that: hope.


In the words of Mickey of The Carringbush “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”.

But what of Port and the image department? A failure and a fashion fiasco in one. Back to the confines of Alberton Oval for the autopsy of what went wrong. Bring back the prison bars.


This match will generate a lot of words of analysis. But the great Allan Jeans had a simple philosophy. The game is in one of three states: we have it, they have it, or it’s in dispute. He implored his charges to direct their endeavours accordingly.


We might remember that when the ball is bounced next week.




3 Votes   Adam Selwood

2 Votes   Daniel Kerr

1  Vote    Shannon Hurn





About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. Dr Docker says

    Very entertaining piece Ianny. The words of the great Yabby Dabby Dooo are true. If that odour persists please spray some Glen 20 around or maybe seek medical advice…. Orooo SG

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