Round 9 – Port Adelaide v West Coast: Grave Danger

A few weeks ago the omnipresent TV celebrity president (which one? – Spectacles not Testicles or the Boy Wonder) suggested that his players “weren’t playing the Port Adelaide way”.

The Port boys have taken his message to heart.  Tom Jonas obviously encouraged by the reprieve for his flying assault on Patrick Dangerfield (the MRP judged that he was attempting to mark – while he and the ball were in the same postcode as Paddy – he arrived later than a loan repayment) decided to remove Andrew Gaff’s head today with an even later flying elbow.

Visions of the Alberton bloodbaths of my youth flooded back.  Perhaps not the outright thuggery of 80’s hitman Dave Granger, but let’s remember that “Gentleman” Jack Cahill was the velvet glove that directed Granger’s iron fist.  Neville Caldwell, Graeme Cornes and an Emergency Department full of Glenelg footballers certainly don’t.

Jonas and Robbie Gray reminded me more of 60’s hardman Neville “Chicken” Hayes who lived by the motto of “they’ll know they earned it” if anyone got a kick on him.  Backhanders, elbows and late collisions were the stock in trade of those Fos Williams teams  of the 50’s and 60’s.

My dad always said there was a sign “abandon hope all ye who enter here” just past the bend in Port Road before Alberton Oval.  Ken Hinkley sides were supposed to be quick ball carriers, but the Jonas elbow and the dangerous intentional trip by Robbie Gray reflected a side frustrated by injury and their own poor skills.

In truth they were not alone.  This was a match between two sides struggling to recapture their magic of recent seasons.  West Coast held a 2 to 4 goal margin for most of the day, but we were never really dominant, we just made more of our chances.

Josh Kennedy kicked 7 goals and handed off another to be the difference against a Port side missing Schulz, Ryder and Monfries.  Kennedy arrived late due to the imminent birth of his first child.  I suggest he takes the red-eye to all future matches.

Naitanui and Lycett dominated the rucks and around the ground, with Lycett notable in the first half until a (this time accidental) whack to the jaw slowed him down in the third quarter.   Priddis got a near record 27 contested possessions and Shuey, Hutchings and Gaff (until taken out) were workman-like.  But our midfield does not bat deep and it’s lack of speed and skill is a notable weakness.

The other is the lack of contribution from our small forwards.  LeCras again failed interstate and Darling looks crippled by a back injury.  Cripps and Hill are tidy footballers but they lack the physical intensity of a Puopolo.

Our defence is strong and Simpson looked content to play extra men deep all day and rebound to “rope a dope” a Port side that had 50 more disposals on the day.

The Eagles season reminds me of cracker night when the threepenny bunger was fizzling for a long time but  you kept your distance, never sure if it was going to explode or expire.

The most annoying thing about this game was in the ears and not the eyes.  Mark Ricciuto is a po-faced George Grjlusich without his knowing extravagance and self-mockery.  Eddie without the underlying intelligence.  BT without the Blimp buffoonery.

Port seem to have a player called “Hoff” who does not appear on any team list.  A refugee from Baywatch perhaps? Port mistakes were forgiven, but missed free kicks for them were not.   When his fellow commentators noted similar misses for the Eagles he could only mumble “weeeell….”  Vision of Gaff regaining consciousness in the rooms and still having his head attached to his neck was “good news for Tommy”.

Ricciuto’s matey parochialism belongs in the Ch9 cricket commentary box, not professional sport in the 21st century.  Riccutio’s commentary reminded me that an “expert” is a has-been drip under pressure.

PORT ADELAIDE     3.1  5.3    9.6    13.8 (86)                   WEST COAST          5.2   9.3   12.7  14.10 (94)

GOALS Port Adelaide: Young 4, Wingard 3, Dixon 2, Hartlett, Westhoff, Ebert, Polec West Coast: Kennedy 7, Lycett 2, Cripps 2, Yeo, Shuey, Hill

BEST  Port Adelaide: Young, Gray, Dixon, Pittard, Polec West Coast: Kennedy, Priddis, Naitanui, Shuey, Lycett, Hutchings

Umpires: Rosebury, McInerney, Wallace

Official crowd: 38,695

Votes: Kennedy (WC) 3; Priddis (WC) 2; Young (PA) 1

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  1. Rabid Dog says

    Thanks Peter. God help us if we were to go back to the ‘olden days’ where ‘hardmen’ were actually (gutless) brutal thugs that thought nothing of elbows (Kerley), or assault occasioning grievous bodily harm (granger). Chicken Hayes was a thug, straight out (so family tells me). Granger is now being visited by the Karma bus (Usually I hav e sympathy, but not in this case). Jonas should get a month, but I can see another piss-weak tribunal decision where he’ll cop an early plea and only get a fortnight. And BTW – there’ll be the usual port BS about his ‘record’ and ‘he’s a good bloke’ – BULLSHIT – give the thug a month!

  2. Jamie Mason says

    Brave man to criticise the Roo. Absolutely agree with you. His commentary is cringeworthy. Good luck walking the streets of ADL this week.

  3. Ah Peter, have usually enjoyed your stuff but this time I thought I might take a few deep breaths after your first few paragraphs. You apparently had the misfortune to grow up as a Glenelg supporter with the selective memory that entails. G. Cornes, one of the softest players ever, has dined out for 40 years on a single mark in a GF and an endless campaign against Grave Danger for running past Cornes and causing him to faint in fright. Granted the Caldwell bit but, as usual, you overlook the sins of others. Remember Rod Burton? Probably not, but a State level player at the time when he was cudgelled from the front in a marking contest by S. Hywood (Glenelg) incurring facial injuries which made it impossible to play at League level again. Chicken Hayes played in an era where all teams had thugs. Remember Damien Nygaard? Still drinks his food through a straw because of a Neil Kerley (Glenelg hero) elbow. Remember Tim Evans, quite a burly youth? “Fainted” about 150 metres behind the play because he stood too close to a Phillis. Then repeated the dose next to C. Balme! Remember Darryl Wakelin? Clouted from the front by Mark “Basher” Bickley, another Glenelgcrows hero. So just a few to help even the ledger. I do not condone Jonas or Grainger actions, but every team has skeletons in the closet, and you seem to think Port Adelaide are the only ones. And don’t fall for the KG Cunningham mistake of Riccutio!

  4. Bucko – I grew up a West Torrens Eagles diehard in the Lindsay Head era, so I have no sympathy for the Bays. You make a fair point about hard men and enforcers in that era. How I prayed that we could have one. Torrens players fainted at the sight of Neil Kerley or Doug Thomas or Ron Kneebone or Chicken Hayes. Still I do reckon Port were always the high water mark in SA thuggery, and Grave Danger was a special case in that he survived into the 80’s and the depth of his thuggery. Should have been banned but Port found him useful in extremis, particularly against the dominant team of the times – Glenelg. I am old enough to remember Jack Cahill as a wonderfully skilled left foot wingman, and a wonderful coach. GD is a blot on a wonderful record. Agree with you about GCornes as a player – soft and overrated (particularly by himself). I was on the pickets for the greatest game of all time in 73 (barracking for the Roosters) when Studley’s only touch for the day wrote him into history. Sigh.
    Jamie and Rabid – I live in Perth these days so I can point to the nakedness of the Emperor of Waikerie and West Lakes with impunity. West Coast Eagles a blessed relief from the West Torrens version that failed to win a single finals GAME in the first 30 years of my life from 1955. I am still in long term recovery but Gordon Agars is helping with releasing repressed memories and adolescent traumas. Cheers.

  5. Mark Duffett says

    Like the song says, ‘it’s the true Port Adelaide tradition’.

  6. My giddy aunt Peter, we may have been at many of the same games as youths! While my family were Port, my maternal grandfather was the only person with enough money to go to football matches and he was a Torrens man. So I was thrown over the fence to collect autographs of the likes of Lindsay Head, Geoff Kingston, Bob Shearman and many others. I have to disagree about the GayBays being the dominant team, they have only 4 flags ever I think and all the modern ones were won by beating North in the GF, never Port or Norwood! Agree too about the Emperor of Waikerie and I have 2 problems with him. He made a name as a tough guy, mostly by barrelling small blokes with their heads over the ball. He would not last long these days with the MRP and he absolutely never went near G. Archer! Other problem is his Brownlow tie with Goodes and Buckley. In a Showdown that year, Wanganeen was voted top 2 on field by all media, Ricciuto nowhere to be seen. Brownlow votes gave Roo top votes, Wanganeen nil and a tie ensued whereas Wanganeen should have been clearly a single winner! So all that off my chest and don’t mention the war! (PS: Just remembered, Cornes went to North Melbourne same season as R Ebert, played 2 games v 25 for Ebert, Barassi obviously sussed him out).

  7. Good call re Ricciuto, Peter.
    He is a terribly inept commentator who gives not a scintilla of insight into proceedings.

  8. Peter Schumacher says


  9. Peter Schumacher says

    Haven’t had a single post hit the Almanac for a while, off post I know.

    What I have tried to say twice this morning was, “Remember Marx (?) Kretschma taking out Ron Kneebone in an early season game in the late fifties? As a Norwood barracker In do, more Port skulduggery. On the other hand Norwood hard man Brian Sawley met his match when John Peck knocked him oput in the second quarter of an interstate game in a behind the play incident. Never did understand why that happened.

  10. Talk about putting the boot in. Jonas should and will be punished for his act, but if I didn’t know any better, your article reads as though he’s the first player to ever be reported for something like this. And what’s more, he was acting under some sort draconian instruction to do so. Drawing a link between two events on Saturday night with those of 34 years ago is about as logical as attributing them to the Norwood & Oakleigh football clubs.

  11. Glad you’re not punting these days Peter or you might lose your objectivity!

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    ” Spectacles not Testicles or the Boy Wonder”. Gold.

  13. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Interesting and I totally agree re Jonas v the cats that was the old fashioned make him earn it going for the ball garbage he has got his just deserts tonight with 6 games what the suspension should be is the next 5 plus the next game v the eagles just like,May from the suns misses the next game against the lions as part of his suspension so at least the team being offended against receives some compensation.
    Disagree strongly re G Cornes the player as the person responsible for the Cornes for Columbia banner I have had more than the odd run in with,Graham but respect him enormously as a player a tough high marking utility and while I respect his sons as players consider there father superior.Roo has his moments as a commentator but personally I far prefer him to BT and Luke Darcy and I think he is pretty impartial obviously tho I will never bag a article having a crack at Port just as obviously the power and the old magpies are completely separate clubs

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