Round 20 – Port Adelaide v GWS: We’ll write our names as the sun goes down


Port Adelaide versus GWS GIANTS
4.05pm, Saturday 15th August
Adelaide Oval
By Cathryn McDonald


Nothing’s ever what we expect
But they keep asking where we’re going next
All we’re chasing is the sunset
Got my mind on you

– Robin Schulz, ‘Sun Goes Down.’

Friday night is show time, Saturday night is party time. But Saturday twilight at the Portress is a sentimental favourite – long lazy afternoon build-ups in the city, post-match adventures in lantern-lit laneways, the last rays of the sun over the Moreton Bay figs.

It’s the twilight of our season, playing for pride in front of 33,281. The Giants are playing a sudden-death match for their place in the eight.  It’s our lowest home crowd for the year, but it makes their all-time top ten. There will be more anger if Port lose tonight than if GWS do. It’s a combustible mix.

The first quarter is played in broad daylight. We want effort, spirit, joy; they give it to us in a trademark post-Never Tear Us Apart goal bonanza to the Riverbank end. Four unanswered goals to crowd favourites, punctuated only by Rhys Palmer snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with one of the worst goalsquare bloopers of the year.

And this game is heating up. There’s spotfires all over the ground, free kicks being paid behind play. The crowd is confused and angry but lapping it up all at once. Port concede the length of the ground with consecutive 50-metre penalties. Heath Shaw is getting in everyone’s face, the crowd is getting in his face, the frees and 50s continue, a couple of Port guernseys are ripped, it’s chaos!

In the second quarter, an amber tinge creeps across the sky and a wild mood has come over the Portress. GWS are taking their chances. Patton gets his first ever goal, Leon Cameron runs through the crowd to the bench to congratulate him. It takes half the quarter for Port to get on the board.

Then Jacko concedes a free on the Eastern boundary, the fans nearby get stuck into the umpire, Jacko’s annoyed, Pittard collides with someone behind play and the Giants get stuck into him and it’s on for young and old and out of eighteen players and thirty-three thousand fans no-one notices the GWS players sneaking out the back of the fight with the ball and scoring a goal right under our noses.

We’re a mess and it’s not long before GWS hit the front. Cometh the hour, cometh the man – Brendon Ah Chee, the kid in his breakout game, gets the lead back. Then sets up Gus with the longest handball you’ll ever see. The siren sounds, the dust settles and we’re still two goals up! Something happens near the bench and it all starts up again, the umpires are still trying to separate the teams as they walk off, AC/DC’s Thunderstruck blasting from the speakers. “This is reality TV at its best!” proclaim the TV commentators.

By the third quarter, the sunset appears in earnest. It’s an Adelaide Oval classic, all purple-and- orange-hued clouds above the white grandstand roof. The lights are on and the crowd has changed tone – this is serious! It’s an arm-wrestle, with exciting, promising plays cut short by poor goalkicking at our end. GWS look far more dangerous up forward, especially with Rhys Palmer, who’s turned his blooper into a huge day out. Jacko’s wearing Lobbe’s number; he’s destroyed two guernseys today. It’s GWS by two points at three-quarter time.

Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us rings in the fourth quarter, the stage lights shine on down, and in the last light of dusk, a hero appears… with the chance to steal the lead back with a set shot at an angle 30m out…

It’s Johnny freaking Butcher.

A late in for Schulz today, Butch’s career is on the brink, mainly due to his inability to nail moments like this. The crowd hold their breath…

He kicks it.

The ensuing celebrations had to be seen to be believed.

The lights shine brighter, the world seems kinder. Chad’s snaps from the pocket fly truer, the crowd’s satirical “deliberate” calls are more synchronised. Before we know it we’re five goals up and we’re through. It means nothing, but it means everything.

Doesn’t matter where we are
Doesn’t matter, no
If there’s a moment when it’s perfect
We’ll write our names
As the sun goes down

Robin Schulz, ‘Sun Goes Down.’


Port Adelaide      5.5   9.10    11.13   16.15   (111)
GWS    3.6    8.6     12.9     13.11   (90)

Port Adelaide: Ah Chee, Wingard, Monfries 3, Westhoff 2, Neade, R Gray, Ebert, Butcher, Hartlett
Greater Western Sydney: Palmer 5, Cameron 3, Lobb, Patton, Shaw, Williams, McCarthy 

Port Adelaide: Ah Chee, R. Gray, S. Gray, Wingard, Ryder, Hartlett, Impey, Trengove
Greater Western Sydney: Palmer, Ward, Greene, Shaw

Umpires: Farmer, Bannister, Stephens

Crowd: 33,281

My votes: Ah Chee 3, Hartlett 2, Wingard 1


About Cathryn McDonald

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

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