Round 2 – Port Adelaide v Fremantle: The Oakbank-Adelaide Oval quinella


For Peter Sweeney, it was one of his best sporting days – not so for Shane Jackson and the Fremantle Dockers.


Peter Sweeney


Lucky, Lucky, Lucky was living up to his name with just a few hundred metres to run in the first race of the 2017 season for the Onkaparinga Racing Club at Oakbank on Sunday.


Then came the second last hurdle. It wasn’t negotiated as cleanly as planned, and  the Tony McEvoy trained odds-on pop, a Pakenham placegetter at his only previous start over the sticks, and hoop Richard Cully parted company.


In the squint of an eye, Getting Leggie followed suit, dislodging Shane Jackson. The horses ran off, the humans certainly didn’t.


No fatalities or serious injuries, but plenty of ammunition for the country’s anti-jumps racing stable. Oakbank, in the Adelaide hills and arguably Australia’s most picturesque racecourse, was up and away. A precursor for the Easter carnival, when the time-honoured Great Eastern Steeplechase heads the sumptious jumping menu, which is enjoyed by countless numbers.


A couple of flat races followed, before a five-horse field 3250m steeplechase. Cully sat it out, his mount Zed Em being a scratching. Jackson also sat it out, but for a different reason.


He was aboard the David Hayes/Tom Dabernig prepared Honey Steel’s Gold, also an odds-on pop. But the pair came to grief at a steeple nearing the home turn, in pursuit of eventual winner Nishiazabu, who was making light work of his heavy impost of 71.5kg.


Honey Steel’s Gold charged off, not so Jackson, who after slowly getting to his feet, was driven to the medical room. He was probably most thankful there were no more jumps races on the card.


It was time for yours truly to charge off, the trusty (and when you’ve done 430,000km a vehicle is entitled to be tagged trusty) Avalon to Adelaide Oval, 40km away.


It has long been my favourite (first-class) cricket ground – but I had been longing to see an AFL match there.


One Port, the locals, had started the season in Sydney a week earlier in sizzling form. The other port side, the Fremantle Dockers, were sick and sluggish on their home Subiaco soil.


Would their performances be a repeat of the opening round?


Yes, on both counts.


“They” say Port Adelaide fans are passionate. “They” are right. I recall seeing a Showdown – and South Australia stops for take 42 next Saturday night – at the old Football Park. Within five seconds of the opening bounce, a policeman had to intervene between two supporters.


“He started it; I’ll finish it,” the Power fan told the copper.


The Dockers didn’t get close enough, on or off the field, to need separating.


Port powered their way to a 53-point lead at the main change; and had added another six goals to that margin when the final siren ended on-field Fremantle’s pain.


The old cricket scoreboard flashed up the ladder. Nobody ahead of Port Adelaide; nobody behind Fremantle.


There was black, blue and teal colours everywhere and the team song was so loud it nearly lifted the roof off the stadium.


“That’s how you get Lade,” read one banner. 


Talk swung to the Crows, the weekend and top spot.


“I’m rostered to work on Saturday night, but I can feel something coming on. I might be sick,” one fella said to his mates as they laughed.


The Dockers limped off. They didn’t have to pretend they were sick.



  1. Love the pungent one-liners. A lot said with a minimum of words.
    Thanks for the reminder of why I gave up the punt. Doubtless I would have joined the “fallen logs” and been separated from my money as surely as Shane Jackson from his mounts.
    As for the Shockers – dunno how or why they offered “one trick pony” RLyon a 5 year contract. He’ll be laughing all the way to the bank when they eventually sack him.
    Fear and discipline doesn’t work with kids and he breaks players on the wheel of his relentless methods. He bluffs his way through media scrutiny, but surely the jig is nearly up.

  2. Damien Morgan says

    Nice work, Peter.
    I remember watching a race at the Valley with my daughter (then about 10). “He’s only got to jump the last for the win!” I cried. The rest you can guess at. My daughter was horrified and still blames me for that horse falling.

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