SANFL 1977 Grand Final – Port Adelaide v Glenelg: Centenary Premiership Port



Would Jack Cahill be the one to return the Magpies to their rightful status of the premier team after a half a dozen recent GF losses? His captain, Russell Ebert and star utility Max James listen intently.


First year Bays coach John Nicholls showed that skivvies were back in this only-in-the-70s image.





Curiously, there was no mention of the SANFL Centenary on the cover, but the 100 logo was front and centre (well, left breast actually) on the State jumper worn by AMSCOL’s becollared model. I haven’t been able to track down the hand model, but he could have done with a manicure. Some internet sleuthing was required the other night to identify the footy shown. Can anyone shed any light on the Gold Eagle range of footies?





I ignored the request to remain off the oval during the post match presentations, noticing for the first time that the winning captain had a prominent birthmark poking out from the top of his prison-bar laceup. I was all of seventeen and a Centrals supporter – what was I thinking?





F— you Beneficial, and the horse you rode in on, thought no-one in 1977, unfortunately for the future fortunes of SA.





Bigger isn’t always better, as this cavalcade of advertising proves. There was a heavy emphasis on home improvement, as the Croweaters with any disposable income that survived the economic turmoil of the mid-70s used it to rip out their backyard fruit trees and “landscape”.





Wills Sport. See also Gamble Responsibly.





Who’d be interested in a story about a match from more than forty years ago? Madness.


Nelson and Casey were about to be bolstered by the services of Melbourne’s Hardeman G. – the three stripe two blue coup.




The combination of dairy foods and vigorous physical activity was hard to keep down.





I’m pretty sure that it was “Bennett”.



These blokes all looked pretty old for their age.





Look at that scoreboard!!!



Many of the Centrals U17s were schoolmates of mine, even a few former Central Juniors clubmates. That’s as close as I got.












Aficionados will be delighted to see the Kookaburra footy on display in some of these pics.





I guess it’s better than on the back of a bus I suppose.





Kim Boehm obviously had his ear to the ground, with his witty recounting of Sticks’ dad’s encounter with Jack.





A rare sighting of a business name that is still going around today.





Be amazed at those coaching names. Amazed. Cahill added an astounding ten flags after this, Hammond and Kerley one more apiece. Read those names again and weep.





Sturt Reserves – get in early if you want a seat near Rodney Mader.





I love the white collars on the North jumpers.





See Bendigo Bank.





See Journeyman (who probably wasn’t a schoolboy in 1975).





Thanks to Caltex, footy started to look beyond its narrow local horizons.





Today’s combatants’ most recent flags were recounted here.





Sadly, the eight-track cartridge era was long gone.





Max James could play a bit. After some digging, I worked out that his dad was Albert (Bert) James, who played three games at Punt Road in 1947. Max’s son Heath played 18 games for Sydney.





Bankcard was welcomed everywhere. What would a “bad neighbour fence” look like?





Wow, some famous names there. Port’s stability is very evident.





I wonder where Starlite’s products were manufactured.





Hodgeman’s career is not given the respect it deserves. He was largely out of sight to SAers when he was at North. Coincidentally, I’ve just finished listening to a podcast with Hodgeman being interviewed by Graham Cornes, which provides some worthwhile insights into his life.





What was a Vaco sausage?





‘Butch’ Phillis was gone from the Bay in a couple of years, finding success at the Redlegs. He also ended the career of Centrals youngster Russell Cropley.


Port Centenary Port. Prescient.







This sextet were all very very fine players. There’s a line in there about centrefolds and the South player but I’m not childish enough to go there (except on Twitter).





The Reserves gained a scant mention here. Peter Harvey epitomised the expression “clubman”.


Sounds better than John Cahill Charcoal Chicken, doesn’t it?





The Budget loved to trot out this photo of a bloodied Sorrell. Welcome back, Trevor.





I believe this won the race for the best SA based advertisement by a long neck.





The captioner did well to identity all of those players.


Why did it matter that the batts were pink?





More outdoor improvement options, signalling the demise of the good old hose and sprinkler.





KI’s Farquhar impressed the Bays in his first season. His father may have filled out his “personality profile” judging from the pop culture responses.





David Trembath was a big Peckers benefactor.





Sturt certainly outgunned the Woodville lineup. Collingwood recruit Mike Delahunty rarely appeared in the Ones, Trevor Sims and Ken Whelan were slumming it and Jim Derrington was just starting out.


Maylin, Carty and Cummins were the standouts in the green and gold.




Just get the bus.


Yes, *the* Phil Smyth!





Most difficult opponent – “Graham Cornes”, especially in the 1982 Preliminary Final.






These cut price versions of the traditional pen-pix were assembled in roughly alphabetical order, with Joe Zoklowski bringing up the rear.







At least the Bays pages had a 1977 photo.





I didn’t realise that the TS Hill Trophy had only been around since 1963.





I regret only taking a red pen to the game. The casual observer would not be aware that Ivan Eckerman was a very unlikely source of three goals. Bob Paech’s handful was one of his best ever.





Some genuinely difficult questions here, but I really should have known Player #5.





Was it Greg Hollick, despite my guess of Jim Buckley? Mark Williams was playing for his dad Fos that season in the red and black verticals.





Was the Lightburn Zeta one of those 63 makes?





Lotsa stats. (Magnifying glass not supplied)







Huge per capita attendances.


Spot the unheralded future All-Australian in the roster of hundred-gamers.









Sorry Kim, but those Final premiership tables were a dumb dumb dumb idea, as was the white writing on a yellow background.


Sturt received value for money from Ken Whelan over his career it seems.





The Prof sold his soul, didn’t he? Why was that so?











The annual player stats threw up obscurities like Peter Heylen, Randall Buzzacott, the debut of Greg McAdam, Geoff Zadow, Peter Burgoyne Sr and most of Woodville.





Who won the Centrals Battle of the Bands? Was it The Twilights, Cold Chisel, Spanish Holiday, The Wally Carr Group or The Accountants?





Domax and Stormy Rex went ok.





Grimwood. Look him up. Sad.







$6 !!!




Thanks in advance for the staff loan SBSA.




The Washup


Port Adelaide has recorded the story of its 1977 premiership extensively, reflecting the joy and relief felt by the black and white hordes when the siren found them eight points up. They’ve said it better than anything that I could have compiled, but the final three paragraphs bear repeating here:


The SANFL’s centenary season had seen one of its greatest Grand Finals won by its proudest and most powerful club, the incomparable Port Adelaide Football Club. This was truly a game of heroes. Tim Evans and Ivan Eckermann were magnificent in the forward line, contributing 10 goals between them. Evans led all scorers on the day with 7.2. Superbly skilled rover Brian Cunningham was typically fearless, busy and dynamic winning best on ground plaudits; Port’s champion centreman and then triple Magarey Medallist Russell Ebert used his sublime skills by hand and foot to create many opportunities for Port; the big bear Randall Gerlach, who retired after the game, was tireless providing ruck support to Spry as well as playing in defence and using his big frame and vice-like grip in the unfamiliar role of stopping instead of finishing off attacks as he stymied many forward thrusts by Glenelg; Max James in his on-ball role was commanding around the ground; young defenders Greg Phillips, Len Warren, Tony Hannan and Eckermann/Tony Giles performed admirably on the biggest occasion; Bruce Light as mentioned was hard-working and exciting on his wing, while workhorse ruckman John Spry was tireless in ruck. Every player that day is a Port Adelaide hero.


Port Adelaide coach John Cahill experienced the depths of despair in 1976 in his first Grand Final in charge of Port Adelaide. Perhaps a new hardness was forged in the fires of that defeat as Cahill climbed the mountain as Port Adelaide’s jubilant 1977 Premiership coach. Cahill would not lose a Grand Final again after 1976.


Port Adelaide had grabbed the monkey from its back and hurled it into oblivion. Russell Ebert accepted the Thomas Seymour Hill Trophy on the ground with the immortal words “It’s taken us a bloody long time, but by geez it’s worth it!” Little did Russell know how many more times that trophy would be returning to its rightful home over many years to come.


The Bays’ run of Grand Final misses continued until the mid 80s, with coach Graham Cornes delivering a pair of flags. This day set up a bitter hatred keen rivalry between the Magpies and the Tigers, which is still very much alive.


For more of my year in 1977, try these


SANFL Season 1977 – Round 1: A New Hope

Elizabeth High 1977 – Class 12.2: Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Bill Linkson says

    Cripes….was there on the big day once again barracking for the “Terrific Tenacious Tigers” as the banner used to say…..did the “all too often” walk of shame back down Sportsmans Drive to Grange for another year of “close but no cigar”……….roll on to 1985……or maybe 2019 with some luck !…..great read ! Up the Bays …

  2. 1977, that was the year that new Glenelg Coach, John Nicholls moved star full forward Fred Phillis to full back where he played good footy. However neither he, nor his brother Wayne (Butch) could hold burly full forward Tim Evans in check in the Grand Final when Coach John Cahill delivered the first of his ten Port Magpies premierships..

    The Bays, over the years have played some really good finals footy, except against Port in Grand Finals. In my life time all 3 of Glenelg,s premierships have been against North Adelaide (’73, ’85 and ’86).

    Should the Bays make this year’s GF, and I hope they do, I would love them to finally break the GF hoodoo that the ‘Pies have had over them.

  3. Ahhhhhh!
    The Memories!
    This was the very first Port Premiership I attended.
    (I was at the 1976 GF the year before, but we didn’t get the chocolates).
    It was a fantastic day, and the beginning of a stunning two decades of dominance in the SANFL, especially over Glenelg in GFs.
    Thanks Swish, and hopefully, very timely.
    (aka Arson Garson)

  4. Up the Bays (for the next two weeks)! Has been hilarious watching the (twitter) commentary on the SANFL over the last week. Apparently the SANFL hates Port and doesn’t want them to win the flag (would’ve thought that was the case for everyone who doesn’t follow Port) and will go broke if and when Port leaves for a national reserves comp (reasonable question about who is closer to going broke at the moment, particularly if Port was to leave a competition that they get to compete in for free to one where they’d have to fly their reserves interstate every two weeks). 1977 seems a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

    Wonder if there’s an alternate universe where the Williamses stayed at West Adelaide, how the world might have differed.

  5. I was there that game, im a Torrens supporter but wanted Port to win as i went with a group of Port fans . I remember at half time when about a dozen policeman ran across the ground to the eastern wing where there was a big fight in the crowd, the ground was packed. Port ran away early in the last quarter but Glenelg came back and it was only 10 points the difference when siren sounded.l . Good win for Port big celebrations after.

  6. Swish- one of the attractions of these brilliant posts is playing join the dots. Here’s a few-

    When in Kimba I lived next door to Ivan Eckerman’s brothers and family. Of course he was nicknamed Butch.

    When I was at uni my then girlfriend’s parents ran a deli very near to Jack Cahill’s chook shop. Of course there were hair-curling stories.

    When he lived in my approximate neighbourhood Chocko (Choke-o) Williams would always nod a greeting at me if we crossed paths despite me being an utter stranger. Of course this was at odds with his somewhat gruff reputation.

    Thanks again.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Bill – sorry to remind you

    Fisho – mind like a steel trap

    Arson – sorry to remind me

    DB, yeh, apparently it’s an irrelevant feeder comp until they realise that they can count the flag.

    David, I know what it was like to latch on to another team in finals

    Mickey, it is a big big country but it is a small small world

  8. Mark Duffett says

    Ah, the 1977 Centrals u17s flag. I was so sure that meant we were going to be premiers circa 1982.

    I followed your suggestion and looked up Trevor Grimwood, the first Magarey Medal win I remember. As you say, sad. I had no idea.

  9. Swish
    You got good value out of those Budgets; you filled in all the scores and did the crosswords and the puzzles. Now you are scanning them all.

  10. Remember like yesterday, after 1976 the sheer ecstasy of it all. Great courage from Gerlach to play that year after kidney failure. Bays should have used a different method on T. Evans (the C. Balme upper cut). Thanks for all the memories Swish, wish I had kept all my old Budgets too. Many, many potential comments from this, could go on all day, but won’t.

    Oh, and do not apologise to that Linkson bloke up the list, I know him to be a fiendish opponent of Port Adelaide, with little judgement on the matter of football!! Also a good mate.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    We could have been contenders Mark, I tells ya.

    6% I’m hoping that I’m performing a valuable public service, but the scanning is killing my back.

    Go on all day if you like Bucko, there’s plenty to brag about (unless you mention Granger)

  12. Sit down at the scanner, old fruit.

    In relation to old mate Grave Danger, I have long ago got sick of this discussion, but it keeps on being dragged up by G. Cornes in the media, due to his apparent fainting fit.Would we still be hearing about this if he hit, say, Julian Swinstead or Buff Tyrell? Grave may have done some unsavoury things, but let he who is without sin cast the first rotten apple.

    At the risk of defying the old PAFC rule of “never complain, never explain”, I ask for equal treatment of what happened to T. Evans, an apparently robust youth who fainted 150 yards behind the play against Norwood? Or Rod Burton, a State level player who was clouted from in front by a certain Glenelg player and never played League football again. I could go on, but shall not, as the cricket is getting close on the TV, as is the mighty NicNat.

  13. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I do sit down Bucko. Maybe time to reconfigure my physical desktop.

    I’d still be squealing if it was Swinstead, by the way.


    I was there will never forget it as it was my first GF win as a Port supporter. How many more cam after this one!!

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