Round 7 – Brisbane v Port Adelaide: I Flew In, Brisbane Flew Up and Port Crashed and Burned

 

Brisbane v Port Adelaide

May 17th, 2015

RD 7

The Gabba, Brisbane

 

The Gabba in Brisbane holds mixed emotions for me. Back in 2002 I flew up to watch Port in the preliminary final, a game in which we lost but were still in the match late in the third quarter. It was no less heartbreaking though. But we knew as a supporter base that it was a side that had bigger and better things to come. Two years later the payoff came with our first AFL premiership. Glorious stuff. A year later after my first Gabba visit I watched Port hold off a terrific Brisbane team to win just, with Dean Brogan proving the difference with a late goal. This was the game where Byron Pickett slotted a boundary line goal while having an idiot of a Brisbane supporter chuck a beer at him from behind the fence. Great stuff. Great win and a great trip. Fast forward to 2015 and I’m back in Brisbane, enjoying the warmth (according to locals it’s currently freezing – for a country Victorian resident its warm), and a well-needed holiday.

 

Brisbane is a strange city. They have McDonald’s delivery vans, and a service station named after a sneaker brand. The locals talk laconically, and there is an abundance of flying cockroaches. It’s a spread out city. A trip from Taigum to the Gabba, via Deception Bay requires a packed lunch and two toilet stops. But my word the Airport link tunnel is pretty impressive.

 

A lot has changed in Brisbane since I was last here in 2003, not least their AFL football club. Back then, when I had slightly more hair and a slightly thinner waist the Lions were in the process of winning a unique hat trick of premierships. Circa 2015 and the Lions only just scrape past the 15,000 supporter mark for the clash with Port Adelaide. The gaps in the crowd, especially up-high are immediately noticeable. The team sits in last place on the premiership ladder and their best players seem destined for other clubs come the trade period. But, and it’s a big but, tonight they somehow conjured up a spirted, resilient display against a Port side low of confidence, bereft of a plan B and in serious danger of losing a grip on a vital top 4 finish. Brisbane were good tonight, running hard and taking the game on. They made mistakes, but they worked well as a team and supported each other. Port did not. Port didn’t work anywhere near hard enough for a side with premiership aspirations. They were sloppy, looked flat and unfit and missed easy shots at goal. They couldn’t get their run going, didn’t play with passion and lacked interest in the contest. It was depressing to watch.

 

But the reality about Port is this: they’ve only played three decent quarters of football all season (that’s out of 7 games now), they are miles off the pace of the leading pack and in serious danger now of missing a top four position. In fact they would be lucky to even make the finals such is their malaise on the football field at the moment. Something is rotten at Alberton. Questions may well be asked in the house about they complete turnaround in their fitness levels. Port are playing with all the flash but none of the substance. It’s the little things that win football matches, yet Port seem unable to or not interested in doing them. Why? Their approach to playing the bottom side seems to have been turn up, win, go home, get to visit Brisbane for the first time in a couple of years.

 

Next week it’s Richmond in Adelaide. Kane Cornes will bow out of football playing his 300th AFL game. Another performance as weak-willed, shabby and slack when a club champion is saying sayonara will be a new low. And would be totally unacceptable.

 

This supporters’ holiday has been far from ruined because of one poor footballing performance, but it’s certainly dampened things. My footballing trips to Queensland seem to be following a symmetrical pattern. We lose, we win, we lose. Let’s hope that is the case come August, when I jump back on to one of those giant birds in the sky and settle in on the Gold Coast to watch Port battle it out with another supposed cellar dweller in the Gold Coast. Two Queensland holidays in the one footy season derailed would be far too much to take.

 

CHRIS MICHAELS

 

@cargoartmag

Comments

  1. Fair summary Chris. Would Kane Cornes be getting a game next week if it wasn’t the end of his Nellie Melba/Johnny Farnham tour? He was ordinary against the Eagles last week. Like Adam Goodes he has done himself no favours by going on a season too long with a potential flag in the offing.
    How is Butcher doing in the SANFL? I know he’s a poor kick but you need someone to contest and hold the ball in at CHF. The resting ruckman is not the answer.
    I didn’t see this game, but your stats look competitive and your score isn’t. Structural or attitude problems?

  2. I suppose Kane had a good season last year, and considering Port made a prelim it seemed fair that he’d go on. But I think mentally he has probably checked out now.
    Butcher I can’t stand because he’s a morale killer for the rest of the team.
    We’re not holding the ball in the forward line at all well. It’s coming out so easily where as last year we’d lock it in better, hence less inside 50s against us.

    We have major attitude problems.
    Too many expecting things just to happen. And relying on too few.
    It’s a massive concern only 7 rounds in.

  3. Dave Brown says

    Yep, Chris, glad you enjoyed the warmth. It always seemed to me last year that Port’s game plan relied upon a manic intensity that they could only maintain for 2/3 of the season and about 2/3 of each game. It’s gone noticeably missing since making the most of limited opportunities against Hawthorn & the Crows. Boy, are you missing Ollie Wines!

    Don’t expect to see Butcher at AFL level any time soon, PB. He had 3 disposals in the SANFL against the Crows in a game that had all the intensity of a training run.

  4. Agree with the lack of plan B comment. At some point a decision had to be made to do something different. Brisbane seemed to put themselves where Port wanted to go and slow everything down effectively. But for all of that, still only had two more shots at goal. Poor kicking is poor footy…

  5. Peter Edwards says

    Maybe there was only a small crowd but the “Lions” chant in the last quarter could be heard from miles away.

    The look on Ryder’s face when Andrews went to stand him was priceless – Harris looks about 15 – but he’ll he can play.

    Well done Lions.

  6. The problem Port has is it doesn’t cope well (like most teams) with slowed down, crappy football.
    It needs to run.
    And move the ball quickly.
    Teams have worked that out and don’t let them.
    Plus, on top of that their efforts aren’t good enough which doesn’t help, and their fitness is a worry.

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