SANFL Round 1 – South Adelaide v Glenelg: #TypicalSouff

I was having a particularly stressful week. Across my desk were papers with reminders and calculations and contracts. It was all getting to me. It was hot and muggy outside too – the humidity is one aspect of Sydney that I’ll never get used to.

Stuff it, I’m visiting home for Easter. Plane tickets purchased.

“The bar opens at 1pm…”

That’s enough to get the attention of my mum’s bloke, it’s the only place you can get a beer on Good Friday – even for the heathens that dwell south of the hill. (Good man… for a Westies barracker. Did you know Westies won the flag last year?) It’s a blokes’ afternoon at the footy – my mum and my fiancee drop us off after the long 5-minute drive (could have been longer if mum hadn’t been corrected – she was initially heading to Bice Oval) ahead of their ladies’ afternoon at The Bay.

Ah yes, The Bays. Do we, the South Adelaide Football Club, actually have natural enemies? Well… certain information sources may describe us, the Panthers, in two words – “mostly harmless.” So, no, not really. But Glenelg will do because a) location, I guess, b) Sturt are soft, c) oh god, do you remember the “Glenelg Panthers” bid for the 2nd AFL license, d) once had a really bad primary school teacher who was a rabid Tigers man and e) if I squint my eyes, maybe there’ll be revenge for Carlton’s “healthy loss” to Richmond last night.

Through the concrete wall; it’s not quite the same as the entrance to Norwood Oval, as I showed my fiancee as we walked down The Parade, but it is door to one of my footy homes. Noarlunga Oval (I’m no good at spelling Hickinbotham) has only been around for score and one but I sort of grew up with it. Now we have the concrete wall and it is semi-iconic.

I didn’t visit Noarlunga Oval enough when I was an angry young man trapped on the wrong side of the hill and didn’t see my Panthers enough even when I was in Ridleyton (which I understand is now being bulldozed for a slightly wider South Road). Appreciate it rather more now I live in the belly of the beast and how could one not appreciate it today, the first round of footy on such a gloriously sunny Good Friday. And the beers are in the fridge, awaiting purchase.

Hahn Superdry or… West End Draught.

Being more civilised than the heathens at Bob Neil No. 1 (having attended TAFE SA and UniSA, and delivered pizzas to Flinders University), I quite rightly have a moment’s despair at said choices. I’d even rather the liquid death of Southwark Bitter for extra cultural cachet. Then I drink my first of five or six (lost count) West Ends. This sacrifice to the gods will surely result in blue and white appearing at the top of the chimney this October.

With limited ceremony (the Panthers cheerleaders being a somewhat grand exception), the season commences under blue skies. And before I can get through my second can of West End, I am in some despair – Glenelg are up by three clear goals. Yes, three. How many seasons has the Gotchster been in charge for? His third? Ah… you’re already living on borrowed time as coach at South.

Someone reckons that it’s a three-goal breeze, in the manner of old-school South Australian football theory. At this rate, it’s looking like a ten-goal breeze. (We are at Noarlunga Oval after all. Why don’t they have a wind farm here?)

But yet. The Panthers regain much needed nerve. Emmanuel Irra, a man with an incredible story, flicks the switch on 2016 and the rally begins… and by the end of the quarter… we’re leading by 2 points. #TypicalSouff

A visit to the Vili’s canteen is required at quarter time. How good are Vili’s pasties? They are a million times better than Balfours (or Gibbs!). That amazing Vili’s pastry works so well and maybe the pepper that they put in isn’t entirely traditional – but stuff it, a Vili’s pastie is awesome even when washed down with a West End. A freshly warmed up Vili’s – truly a Good Friday miracle for a man who must survive on frozen Balfours pasties (that’s all you get in Sydney).

The second quarter is an arm wrestle. Glenelg initially have the strength, but their kicking is somewhat less than accurate. Nick Liddle is playing rather well and South get more of the pill in the latter phases of the quarter but their kicking is not terribly accurate as well. A flurry of behinds from both teams has the scoreboard attendant rather confused and is behind on getting the numbers up. (If we get that wind farm, we could have an electronic scoreboard!) The half time siren goes off and we find out that South are still up by 2 points.

Half time comes around and the chatter continues apace. Both the barrackers from The Bay and the South faithful remain quite confident, quite happy in the sun and some are already quite refreshed. One wag comments on last night’s game at The Parade and suggests that Chad Cornes’ coaching career is going quite well – “they only scored three behinds.”

The third quarter commences and South kick three goals in six minutes and please ignore what I wrote previously about Brad Gotch ready to be consumed by The Panther’s Curse. Joel Cross (best known as Dual Magarey Medallist Joel Cross) does smashingly well and there’s that man Irra again and how many goals in this quarter? Glenelg do as well as they can but it’s seven goals to three and as someone who survived Maths class at Christies Beach High School, we’re now up… er, four goals at the last break. GO SOUTH! We’ve broken clear, away from The Bays, there are no clouds in the sky, I’ve had about four red cans, there’s no way we can lose, life is great…

And then – the last quarter. Look, I’ve watched a fair bit of South play and thus, I’ve seen some terrible quarters. This was sort of up there as you’d expect with a score of 0.0 for proceedings. Glenelg hold the pill for most of the quarter and the wags on the western side start to despair. Glenelg chip away half the lead and we’re less than ten minutes in and I can picture a sand castle at Christies Beach waiting for the tide to come in and waiting. We’ve let the Tigers roam free.

But the defence, which was not seen in the opening minutes of this match, are there. A few behinds are peppered towards the Colonnades end but not more. South hold on and the siren gives relief, rather than pure joy. Despite giving up a three goal headstart and a scoreless last quarter, we’ve won by 9 points in the end. #TypicalSouff

Two points are two points, however, and if I’m travelling from Sydney to Noarlunga for a home game, I’ll take any sort of win.

As I have been doing for a few years now, I’ll be virtually following the Panthers as work and life continues apace in Sydney town but if we ever make the Grand Final… stuff work and my busy Sydney life, I’ll be the first guy buying a plane ticket home for that weekend. I’ll even crack open a West End when our colours get painted on the chimney.

About The Philby

Inconsistent contrarian. Barracker of Carlton FC and South Adelaide FC. Resident of Sydney. Holder of the record of shortest umpiring career with the South Australian Cricket Association.


  1. Dave Brown says

    Great stuff The Philby! A close stoush in front of a decent crowd – what more could you ask for? Some decent beer obviously

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Bewdy Philbster. At this rate we might need a SANFL supplement in this year’s Almanac.

    Some ripper southern Adelaide references there: “Colonnades”, “Hickinbotham”, “mum’s bloke”.

    Next time try getting to the Ron Hateley Bar a bit earlier, their stocks of Eagle Blue may have been exhausted by 1:15pm

    Vili’s is the Coopers of pies. I’m not sure why Coles appears to have taken to Balfours as its frozen gourmet savoury pastry of choice but there’s a few of their pasties in the freezer at home.

    I’ll be reporting on the Round 4 Bulldogs v Panthers stoush. I’ll be sure to include appropriate references like “Town Centre”, “Housing Trust” and “mum’s dealer”

  3. The Philby says

    Dave: thankfully McLaren Vale is near and wine was tasted on the very next day.

    Swish: and they ran out of Eagle Super too at the Ron Hateley Beer Fridge & Foldable Table. Vili’s have made their way into a unusually high number of NRL venues but being Sydney, it’s usually pie only and sausage roll if you’re lucky. I think I’m still banned from the Adelaide Fringe for dropping a reference to drug use in Salisbury during a Theatresports performance in ’06 – I’m sure that even proceedings at the Ponderosa will be more tasteful than that.

  4. Mark Duffett says

    I liked the Christies Beach reference best – many fond childhood memories of summer weeks there in a true shack that wasn’t too incongruous in the years before it was completely assimilated in suburbia, when the flame still burned over Port Stanvac.

  5. Despite the Glenelg Tigers loss I enjoyed this The Philby. Lots of excellent references. Isn’t mention of Junk Food Corner compulsory under local council bylaws?

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Enjoyable read,The Philby any thing which mentions,Bob Neil 1 and Bobs finest red cans gets a distinction.Having been at the parade the previous night and being disgusted with the umpiring I watched this game as a neutral and was similarly frustrated with the holding the ball and out of bounds crap absolute stupidity,Tom Fields when he roosts it kicking is a joy to watch
    For the other sanfl report of round 1 please click on

  7. somehow we’ve become South’s bunniy over the last decade – which, with respect, is saying something about the poor old Bays. But thanks for this. I was following online and very frustrated. Look fwd to your reviews Swish – the Norwood stuff nauseates me.

  8. The Philby says

    Mark: I had to visit Lonsdale on a work-related matter and it felt empty now they’ve even knocked down the chimney at Stanvac. Christies is certainly a world away from the shacks; I read a yarn in the local paper that they want to put up a seven story apartment building at the end of Beach Road…

    Mickey: Reynella Junk Food Corner or Christies Junk Food Corner? (I’m sure Seaford has its own version now.)

    Rulebook: Enjoyed reading your take on the night before. (I did make it to The Parade on Thursday; but only for lunch at The Colonist!) I suspect I was enjoying the sunshine and the red cans a bit too much and overlooked the rubbish umpiring/’new & improved’ rules… Pretty sure that one of Tom Fields’ torps ended up on the other wide of the hill.

    Crio: While it was a #TypicalSouff performance, I was impressed by a few of The Bays boys on the day and they did have an excellent start. There’s certainly a good lot of potential in the side – and McGinty absolutely dominated the ruck all day.

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