Round 16 – Port Adelaide v Hawthorn: Here be dragons

The Targaryen khalasar crossed the Narrow Sea by way of the footbridge, led by two dragons. The dragons – manned by Chinese dancers in celebration of Multicultural Round – leapt and danced to the drums and chants. For today was the day the two great houses of Targaryen and Lannister would meet at the Portress.


Tywin Lannister – otherwise known as Alistair Clarkson – had stoked the flames of rivalry earlier in the week. He suggested that despite House Targaryen’s mystique, their motley crew of Dothraki warriors and exiled knights had not proven themselves to be consistently tough in battle. The Lannisters, however, had proven this beyond doubt over the last three years. Ser Hinkley of the Targaryen camp conceded that as they’d wasted the last one and a half years in Meereen, not doing much and failing even to control such small-time rebels as the Blues, Lions and Dockers, Tywin may have had a point. Meanwhile, Tywin double-checked his security arrangements, concerned that a hedge knight from Hindley Street might find his way into the foyer of his tent.


The battle was introduced by a Multicultural Round pre-match, full of colour, wildfire and a huge glowing dragon which circled around the dimly-lit stadium. The combatants entered the arena to more wildfire and the roars of the khalasar. The Lannister army was roundly booed. Throughout the week, the biggest target had been placed on the back of the Lannister captain, the Kingslayer. Though widely respected throughout Westeros, the local smallfolk derided him. In their opinion he had broken a sacred oath not to smash other combatants’ heads against the behind post.


The veteran knight Ser Schulz drew first blood for the Targaryens; his first goal since returning from a near career-ending injury. House Targaryen’s Dothraki warriors attacked man and ball with intent, gaining the ascendancy for most of the quarter. However, as the Lannisters had remarked during the week, the Dothraki lacked discipline and cohesion: too many missed targets. Brad Ebert hit the deck taking a courageous mark, and was taken off the field, coughing up blood. The Edwin Smith Stand saw Sam Mitchell drag him down. And there are no secrets in a khalasar… especially one armed with smartphones and social media.


In the second quarter, the Kingslayer took a kick from out on the full, to the swelling boos that would follow him the rest of the match. Gunston elbowed Hartlett in the head, leaving the Targaryens down to two on the bench. It appeared that they were being outclassed. However, there was something that was keeping them in the contest. Perhaps it was the contrast between the two armies: well-drilled and battle-hardened Lannister soldiers, versus wild Dothraki screamers pumped up on adrenaline. Ruthlessness and discipline, versus ferociousness and brilliance. Patient maneuvering to a set shot, versus a quick snap from the goalsquare on the rebound. The battle was evenly poised approaching half time. Word filtered through that Ebert had been taken to hospital. Hartlett reappeared, but didn’t look in good shape.


Then came the first two minutes of the third quarter. The Kingslayer and the Targaryen captain, Khal Travis, went up for a marking contest. The Kingslayer threw his knee into the Khal’s ribs, sending him off the field and down the race. The techies replayed it in slow motion on the big screens, so that every man, woman and child of the khalasar knew what had happened. With the Targaryens’ three generals now concussed, in hospital or in the rooms, things quickly unraveled. By the time the Khal reappeared, the Lannisters had established a match-winning four-goal lead out of nowhere. It could have been five, but for Krakouer nearly sending Ceglar over the fence into Bay 123. Ceglar retaliated with a comment; judging by Bay 123’s reaction, it wasn’t nice. Westhoff’s snap goal against the flow of play was met with a guttural roar. Something dark and dangerous was being awakened here.


Hodge received a 50 metre penalty for something. A string of three decisions brought the ball from one fifty to the other. Meanwhile, somewhere off the ball where only a few bays of fans could see it, something bad happened to Charlie. Then a mark wasn’t paid to Westhoff, and he conceded a free kick for abuse, and all hell broke loose. The khalasar were out of their seats, shouting, gesticulating; the surface of the crowd rippling and roiling and heaving and leaping like a thousand Chinese dragons dancing, breathing fire. I closed my eyes and for a moment I was somewhere else: on horseback, galloping towards a burning city, blood pumping through my veins, the Dothraki horde behind me, and the screech of dragons wheeling overhead.


They paid a free kick to Port after a scuffle and the moment was over.




PORT ADELAIDE                   3.3   5.4     7.4     12.7        (79)
HAWTHORN          3.1   6.4   11.10   15.11   (101)


Port Adelaide: Wingard 3, Amon 2, R. Gray 2, Schulz 2, Wines 2, Westhoff
Hawthorn: Rioli 3, Gunston 3, Breust 2, Ceglar 2, Puopolo 2, Hill, Burgoyne, Sicily



Port Adelaide: R. Gray, Wingard, Krakouer, Broadbent, Byrne-Jones
Essendon: Hodge, Rioli, Lewis, Mitchell


Umpires:  Donlon, Stephens, Jeffery


Crowd: 43,025


My votes: R. Gray 3, Hodge 2, Wingard 1



I got the idea for this from this really cool photo… Jason Momoa, aka Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones, is a diehard Port supporter! This is him confusing the locals at a convention in Sydney with his prison-bar guernsey.


khal drogo port supporter

About Cathryn McDonald

One-eyed Port Adelaide supporter, music geek and appreciator of the "match day experience".


  1. Dave Nadel says

    Very entertaining report, Cathryn. I support a different flock of Magpies than you do but I love the idea of Alastair Clarkson as Tywin Lannister.It has got me thinking which other teams represent the other Houses in Game of Thrones. At least we can be grateful that Hawthorn are not one of the starter Womens AFL teams so there will be no Cersei next year.

  2. Cathryn McDonald says

    Sydney suggests the Tyrells to me. Essendon in the last few years have had a Greyjoy vibe about them. West Coast could be the Arryns, with Subiaco as their Eyrie. Carlton would be the Baratheons, St Kilda the Tullys. The Crows are House Martell.

    As for Collingwood, I think they are the Starks.

  3. Dave Nadel says

    I’m happy with that. Particularly with the thought of James Hird as Theon and Scott Pendlebury as Jon Snow.

  4. None of those names mean a thing to me, but I greatly enjoyed your report Cathryn. Hard to think some of those injuries were not inflicted without some intent though. Some Lannisters have been getting away with murder for some time now.

  5. Great stuff, Cathryn. Most enjoyable.

    After sitting through the first 3 series of GoT and yawning, I am not a fan.
    But this was a different story entirely!

  6. Cathryn McDonald says

    Thanks Bucko, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil ;) But one thing people who weren’t at the game don’t get is that the anger in the crowd wasn’t primarily directed at the umpiring. As you said, it’s hard to believe all of those injuries were accidental. It woke the protective instinct of many fans.

    Thanks Smokie, and perhaps these fantasy stories would be far more interesting if they featured sport instead!

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