Club History ALWAYS OUR BITCHES: A Concise Modern History of Port Pwning Glenelg in Grand Finals

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The most severe drought* since the nation was brought to its knees between 1895-1903 entered its twelfth spring.

Sh!t, it was expected to end the year before. Against Sturt, at an unfinished Footy Park, around 5pm, on Saturday, September 25th, 1976, to be exact. But Rick Davies put on the greatest individual performance ever seen in the whole entire history of sport: 21 kicks, 21 handballs, 15 marks and 21 hit-outs. Posting the second quadruple-double in history, after Golden State Warrior “Nate the Great” Thurmond in 1974, The Jumbo Prince led Oatey’s Oldies to a shock 42 point win.

That sh!tshow drew a record footy crowd in South Australia. Officially, it was 66,897. Unoficially, it was about 80,000. The joint was so packed, fans were sitting right on the boundary line farken.

Ain’t nobody got time for dat, especially some dude legit called the Inspector for Places of Public Entertainment (serioulsy, I’m not making this up.) Old mate capped the max crowd to 65k for the 1977 Grand Final. He even made the league install safety railings opposite “vomitories” (whatever the hell they were) inside the great concrete bowl.

Port were minor premiers (again), three games clear of the next best team (again), and beat Glenelg in the second-semi (again) to go straight through to the grand final (again.)

Would we blow it (again?)

Ins & Outs

Carl Fragomeni was ruled out with a busted shoulder. A nuggety Italian back pocket - George Fiacchi before George Fiacchi became George Fiacchi - he’d been a regular since coming over from East Perth. He played in the ’76 grand final and was desperate to atone for that loss and devastated to miss out. At least he won a flag with the Royals in '72.

But we regained Andy Porplycia AKA “The Ukranian Wizard” and Tony Giles AKA “An Unspectacular But Most Efficient Half-Back Flanker” from injury.

Kim Curtis was the unlucky 21st man.

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 12.21.57 pm.png


Game Day

This game had it all. Iit was “brilliant, cruel, violent, absorbing, fascinating.” Those are the words of renown cricket scribe Mike Coward, formerly of The Tiser. Back when it was worth reading. Long before Rupert shut down The News, bought The Tiser and turned it into tabloid trash unfit to wipe your arse with.

Glenelg captain Wayne Phillis started the byplay even before the first bounce, deliberately delayed the coin toss. Because, I dunno, mind games? Puzzled umps and photographers were like, wtf?

The Bays got the jump early, racing to an 18 point. But a couple of Port goals in time-on pegged it back to a goal at quarter-time. The epic, see-sawing contest, an action reel of brilliant footy and big bust-ups, didn’t let up for two frenzied hours:
  • Bruce Light was reported
  • Kym Kinnear got knocked the f@%k out
  • Fred Phillis king-hit Tim Evans in the goalsquare
  • The big brawl at half-time was sparked by, colour me shocked, Graham ‘Studley’ Cornes
Up by twenty points late in the last quarter, we were ready to take the Thomas Seymour-Hill cup back to Alberton. Finally. Oh yeah, it ain’t over mother f@%kers. Two quick goals in time-on brought the Bays back to within eight points.

But we hung on. Time ran out. And the drought was over.

There were plenty of heroes: God was Himself; lionhearted John Spry battled hard in the ruck; Brian Cunningham went head-to-head with Kym Hodgeman; Ivan Eckermann kicked three crucial goals on one heavily-bandaged leg; Tim Evans booted seven despite living in la-la land for the most of the day.

None were more heroic than Randall Gerlach.

Gerlach wasn’t even supposed to play this season because of his debilitating kidney disorder. But he came so close to premiership glory in ’76, he just had to go around again. Defying doctor’s advice, he pulled on the boots and laced up the guernsey for one more year. The 1977 grand final was the last of his 110 games for the club before prematurely retiring at 24. He passed away late last year, aged 65.

RIP Randall Gerlach, 1977 Port Adelaide premiership player.

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 12.23.29 pm.png


Premiership, premiership! Party time! Excellent!

Another prize awaited the premier: 60 kilos of tiger prawns worth $300 from A. Raptis & Sons. According to Mr. Raptis, terminally diagnosed as a South supporter, tiger prawns were exclusive to Japan and not for sale in Adelaide. So yeah, it was a pretty big deal.

They were called tiger prawns owing to their black-and-white banded tails. Um, have you ever seen a tiger, Mr. Raptis? They’re yellow and black, except for albino tigers. You could’ve called them Magpie Prawns, just sayin.

Anyway, I’m guessing there was a sh!tload of prawns eaten at barbies around the 5015 that summer.

Five pisswrecked Port supporters were arrested by police at the Alberton Oval premiership party.

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 12.24.12 pm.png


Next

John Halbert coached Sturt to the reserves premiership in his last game before embarking on study in the US and UK. He returned a year later and took up a senior gig. With Glenelg, of course.

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 12.20.14 pm.png


*The 1939-51 drought is a bit skewed because half-arsed WWII bush league for three years
 
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GremioPower

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Ford Fairlane

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1977 Premiership
1977, the year that followed 1976. A simple enough fact but especially significant for Port Adelaide supporters. 1976 was the year Port was to throw the monkey off its back, to break the drought in premierships extending back to 1965. But despite dominating the 1976 season with the minor premiership, Magarey Medal (Russell Ebert with a record number of votes) and 90 goals kicked by Randall Gerlach, Port stumbled at the final hurdle to contemporary nemesis, the Jack Oatey-led Sturt.

What else was there to do for Port Adelaide but pick itself up and dominate again? In 1977 Port finished minor premiers by 7 points and Tim Evans topped the goal kicking table in only 14 games. Max James finished runner up in the Magarey Medal to former Magpie Trevor Grimwood who had joined Fos Williams at West Adelaide. Sturt on the other hand stumbled through the 1977 season to miss the finals, finishing seventh with 9 wins.

1977 was significant for other reasons. After a two year absence following a dispute with the Port Adelaide Council, the Port Adelaide Football Club returned to Alberton as its home ground. Just as Port Adelaide is coming home in 2014 to the Adelaide Oval so it came home in 1977 to Alberton Oval. In an epic round 1 match at Alberton, Port Adelaide overcame Glenelg with a trademark withering six to zero goal last quarter to triumph 25.12 (162) to 20.15 (135) in front of 16,558 spectators.

The following week Port crashed back to earth with an 82 point loss to Norwood at Football Park. Although a humbling defeat it was a reality check for Port that kick-started an 8 game winning streak. The next week Port smashed Centrals by 101 points then soundly beat Sturt by 60 points, 21.9 (135) to 11.9 (75) in the traditional Anzac Day Grand Final rematch in front of an astounding 32,395 spectators. People flocked to Port v Sturt clashes in the 1960s and 1970s.

Glenelg finally broke Port’s winning streak at the Bay Oval, then Port met its round 2 conqueror Norwood at Alberton Oval. In a scintillating clash, Port Adelaide defeated traditional arch-rival Norwood by 2 points, 9.17 (71) to 10.9 (69) in front of 22,738 spectators. A titanic struggle was played out in front of an extraordinary crowd resulting in a thrilling Magpie victory.

Port Adelaide continued on its merry way in the 1977 season, winning 7 of its last 10 games (including a draw with Sturt) with one of only two losses by a solitary point at Unley to that team again, Sturt. Port finished the year as clear minor premier with 17 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses.

Despite finishing minor premier in 1976 and contesting the Grand Final, some important player turnover was essential to Port taking the ultimate step in 1977. Port Adelaide had turned over its side significantly from the 1976 defeat to Sturt, with the most notable inclusions of journeyman North Adelaide premiership ruckman John Spry, Essendon century goal kicker Geoff Blethyn, and returning prodigal son Trevor Sorrell after a playing coach stint in Tasmania. Rookies Tony Hannan and Len Warren would play their part on the big day, as would Ivan Eckermann, returning to the club after his initial stint in 1974-5. Kym Curtis, a young key forward from Port Augusta also joined the club in 1977, playing 13 games including the Second Semi Final but would just miss out on the big day. Curtis experienced premiership success two seasons later.

Deserving special mention is Randall Gerlach who decided to play on in 1977 against medical advice for a debilitating chronic kidney condition that ended his career at age 24. Gerlach brought up his 100th game for Port during the 1977 season. Six months after playing in the 1977 Grand Final, Randall’s kidneys would shut down, consigning him to dialysis and kidney transplants.

Important moves were made at both ends of the field during the season that would freshen up the Port side. For several years Port’s squad had contained two great full forwards in Randall Gerlach and Tim Evans. Gerlach had kicked 90 goals in 1976 as Port charged into the Grand Final. Gerlach led the forward line during much of 1977 but he was replaced at the goalfront by Evans later in the season. By round 15, Gerlach led Port’s goalscoring with over 40 goals, while Evans was not in the league’s top 20 goalkickers (cutoff at 30 goals). Amazingly, by the end of the 22 round season Evans topped the SANFL goalkicking list with 75 goals, adding another 12 goals in two finals matches to finish with 87 goals for the season. Lethal roving duo Brian Cunningham and Darrell Cahill added nearly a century of goals between them for the season, while tall goal scoring half forward Trevor Sorrell contributed over 40 goals, as did Gerlach.

At the other end of the field high-flying star full back Max James was growing restless in defence and continued trying to convince coach John Cahill to move him on the ball. Following a Simpson Medal winning performance in the state game against Western Australia playing as an on-baller, James started the next week in his customary role in defence for Port against traditional rival Norwood at Norwood. With the game slipping away, at half time James was moved onto the ball and sparked a revival that saw Port get up by 10 points. James’s new position was secured but presented Cahill with a new challenge. To accommodate James’s move, young forward Greg Phillips was moved to full back. Phillips took to the role with aplomb and was to carve a hugely successful career at Port and Collingwood as a key defender.

However in 1977, this created a very young and inexperienced backline with club champion and 1975 Magarey Medallist Peter Woite and wily back pocket Carl Fragomeni the only experienced defenders. The situation was exacerbated with a season ending injury to Fragomeni on the cusp of the finals leaving inexperienced defenders Ivan Eckermann, Tony Hannan, Len Warren, Greg Phillips and Randall Gerlach partnering Woite in the backlines to contest the Grand Final. Another young defender, Tony Giles was to come off the bench in the Grand Final to replace the injured Eckermann across half back.

1977 was also the centenary season of the South Australian National Football League, founded in 1877 as the South Australian Football Association. Port Adelaide was one of the original founding members of the SAFA.
Just as Port Adelaide had opened the centenary season against Glenelg so it bookended the 1977 season against the Bays in the Grand Final. Glenelg under the guidance of Neil Kerley in previous years had established itself as a modern-day football force with the 1973 premiership and grand final appearances in 1974 and 1975, in 1974 dispensing Port in the Preliminary Final. An intense and often bitter rivalry between Port Adelaide and Glenelg was building.

Port Adelaide legend John Cahill coached the Magpies in the 1977 Grand Final while champion Victorian and Carlton premiership coach and player, John Nicholls coached Glenelg. On the playing side, Port Adelaide featured greats such as Russell Ebert, Peter Woite, Brian Cunningham, Darrell Cahill, Max James, Randall Gerlach, Bruce Light and a young Greg Phillips. Well known to Port supporters on the black and gold side were Graham Cornes, the Phillis brothers Fred and Wayne, Peter Carey and former Carlton star Syd Jackson.

Port Adelaide had defeated Glenelg three times previously during the 1977 season, including a 25 point win in the Second Semi Final two weeks earlier. Glenelg had won once, at Glenelg Oval in June. All this counted for nought come the bounce down at 2.20pm on Saturday 24 September 1977 at Football Park in front of 56,717 spectators in the Grand Final umpired by Peter Mead and Robin Bennet.

Those fortunate enough to be at the game witnessed one of the great, skilful, tough, tight, bruising grand finals. Glenelg jumped out to a 5 goal to 2 goal lead raising ghosts of grand finals past for Port supporters. Tim Evans kicked two goals late in the quarter to steady nerves and get Port Adelaide into the match. Bruce Light, Port Adelaide’s electrifying, fiery wingman was reported in the first quarter but disregarded this setback to feature high in the best players with a typical bustling performance. Following Glenelg’s early breakaway and Port reeling the Bays back in, the game became a close, high-scoring game. Port kicked 5 goals to 3 in the second quarter to lead by 10 points at the half time break, which was punctuated by an all-in brawl featuring John Spry employing a fearsome choke hold to try and see the colour of Graham Cornes’s tongue.

As was the theme of the game, injury and controversy were playing a key role. As noted, Port had already lost reliable back pocket Carl Fragomeni to injury late in the season. By half time Tim Evans and feisty wingman Kym Kinnear were concussed, Evans’s condition euphemistically attributed in the media to a ‘clash of heads’ with Glenelg full back Fred Phillis. Evans had already kicked 6 goals to half time and was to finish with 7 goals for the match. Dangerous ball-magnet rover Darrell Cahill and Ivan Eckermann had thigh injuries. Eckermann, a rugged defender who had been transformed from a goalsneak early in his career returned to the forward line to make up numbers. Ivan was nearly immobile in a forward pocket sporting a huge pressure bandage on his injured thigh. In a game of heroes, Eckermann kicked 3 goals in the second half while hobbling in the forward pocket.

As an aside, on the Sunday Football Show the following day, John Cahill was asked what message he ran out to Eckermann after Ivan had missed a seemingly simple set shot for goal. Cahill replied that he had told Ivan if he had anyone fit left on the bench Ivan would have been dragged!

Glenelg opened quickly after half time kicking early goals before Port steadied again through goals to Evans and Eckermann, and after 4 goals apiece for the term Port still held Glenelg at arm’s length by 9 points at three quarter time. In the final quarter Port Adelaide slipped away to a 26 point lead but 3 late goals to Glenelg cut the final winning margin to 8 points, 17.11 (113) to 16.9 (105).

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.

https://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threads/port-adelaide-premiership-years.1047231/
 

Memphis_

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What we’re gonna do right here is go back, waaaaaay back, back into time…

View attachment 747558



The most severe drought* since the nation was brought to its knees between 1895-1903 entered its twelfth spring.

Sh!t, it was expected to end the year before. Against Sturt, at an unfinished Footy Park, around 5pm, on Saturday, September 25th, 1976, to be exact. But Rick Davies put on the greatest individual performance ever seen in the whole entire history of sport: 21 kicks, 21 handballs, 15 marks and 21 hit-outs. Posting the second quadruple-double in history, after Golden State Warrior “Nate the Great” Thurmond in 1974, The Jumbo Prince led Oatey’s Oldies to a shock 42 point win.

That sh!tshow drew a record footy crowd in South Australia. Officially, it was 66,897. Unoficially, it was about 80,000. The joint was so packed, fans were sitting right on the boundary line farken.

Ain’t nobody got time for dat, especially some dude legit called the Inspector for Places of Public Entertainment (serioulsy, I’m not making this up.) Old mate capped the max crowd to 65k for the 1977 Grand Final. He even made the league install safety railings opposite “vomitories” (whatever the hell they were) inside the great concrete bowl.

Port were minor premiers (again), three games clear of the next best team (again), and beat Glenelg in the second-semi (again) to go straight through to the grand final (again.)

Would we blow it (again?)

Ins & Outs

Carl Fragomeni was ruled out with a busted shoulder. A nuggety Italian back pocket - George Fiacchi before George Fiacchi became George Fiacchi - he’d been a regular since coming over from East Perth. He played in the ’76 grand final and was desperate to atone for that loss and devastated to miss out. At least he won a flag with the Royals in '72.

But we regained Andy Porplycia AKA “The Ukranian Wizard” and Tony Giles AKA “An Unspectacular But Most Efficient Half-Back Flanker” from injury.

Kim Curtis was the unlucky 21st man.

View attachment 747562

Game Day

This game had it all. Iit was “brilliant, cruel, violent, absorbing, fascinating.” Those are the words of renown cricket scribe Mike Coward, formerly of The Tiser. Back when it was worth reading. Long before Rupert shut down The News, bought The Tiser and turned it into tabloid trash unfit to wipe your arse with.

Glenelg captain Wayne Phillis started the byplay even before the first bounce, deliberately delayed the coin toss. Because, I dunno, mind games? Puzzled umps and photographers were like, wtf?

The Bays got the jump early, racing to an 18 point. But a couple of Port goals in time-on pegged it back to a goal at quarter-time. The epic, see-sawing contest, an action reel of brilliant footy and big bust-ups, didn’t let up for two frenzied hours:
  • Bruce Light was reported
  • Kym Kinnear got knocked the f@%k out
  • Fred Phillis king-hit Tim Evans in the goalsquare
  • The big brawl at half-time was sparked by, colour me shocked, Graham ‘Studley’ Cornes
Up by twenty points late in the last quarter, we were ready to take the Thomas Seymour-Hill cup back to Alberton. Finally. Oh yeah, it ain’t over mother f@%kers. Two quick goals in time-on brought the Bays back to within eight points.

But we hung on. Time ran out. And the drought was over.

There were plenty of heroes: God was Himself; lionhearted John Spry battled hard in the ruck; Brian Cunningham went head-to-head with Kym Hodgeman; Ivan Eckermann kicked three crucial goals on one heavily-bandaged leg; Tim Evans booted seven despite living in la-la land for the most of the day.

None were more heroic than Randall Gerlach.

Gerlach wasn’t even supposed to play this season because of his debilitating kidney disorder. But he came so close to premiership glory in ’76, he just had to go around again. Defying doctor’s advice, he pulled on the boots and laced up the guernsey for one more year. The 1977 grand final was the last of his 110 games for the club before prematurely retiring at 24. He passed away late last year, aged 65.

RIP Randall Gerlach, 1977 Port Adelaide premiership player.

View attachment 747563

Premiership, premiership! Party time! Excellent!

Another prize awaited the premier: 60 kilos of tiger prawns worth $300 from A. Raptis & Sons. According to Mr. Raptis, terminally diagnosed as a South supporter, tiger prawns were exclusive to Japan and not for sale in Adelaide. So yeah, it was a pretty big deal.

They were called tiger prawns owing to their black-and-white banded tails. Um, have you ever seen a tiger, Mr. Raptis? They’re yellow and black, except for albino tigers. You could’ve called them Magpie Prawns, just sayin.

Anyway, I’m guessing there was a sh!tload of prawns eaten at barbies around the 5015 that summer.

Five pisswrecked Port supporters were arrested by police at the Alberton Oval premiership party.

View attachment 747564

Next

John Halbert coached Sturt to the reserves premiership in his last game before embarking on study in the US and UK. He returned a year later and took up a senior gig. With Glenelg, of course.

View attachment 747561

*The 1939-51 drought is a bit skewed because half-arsed WWII bush league for three years
That russell ebert captaincy <3
 

Alberton Proud

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My 6 year old self sat on my Dad's shoulders on those sweeping concrete steps for the '77 GF

I don't really remember anything about the game, but obviously worked it's way into my soul

My first GF and flag

This weekend taking my 14 year old for his third try (was in-utero for '04 so not sure if that counts)

C'mon Ports make a old man happy again
 

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RussellEbertHandball

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I missed going to the 1976 GF. No way was I going to miss 1977. Was standing up all day half way back from the fence under the old scoreboard. That last quarter was bloody tense. Tim Evans, Bucky Cunningham and Ivan Eckerman on one leg are the main stand outs in my fading memory of the game.
 

shewho

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Can someone change the name of the thread. If I were Glenelg, that is the sort of thing that would motivate me beyond 110%. We don't need to give them anything- especially not extra motivation.
 

Magpiespower

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What we’re gonna do right here is go back, waaaaaay back, back into time…

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 10.33.21 am.png




Three premierships in four years - '77, '79, '80 - meant the drought was well and truly broken. And after completely dominating the comp in 1980, we were unbackable favourites to make it four from five.

So it was a complete shock to be sitting out of the five mid-season. “Port are gone” declared stuttering savant Ken “KG” Cunningham. Never mind another flag, KG reckoned we wouldn’t even make the finals farken.

But we turned it on in the second half of the year, winning eleven of our last thirteen games to finish second on the ladder behind minor premier Glenelg. We touched up South and Glenelg in the first two weeks of the finals, Glenelg touched up Norwood in the prelim, and the stage was set.

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 10.17.04 am.png


Ins & Outs

There were a few reports from the 2nd Semi Final:
  • Ivan Eckermann got reported for belting Ralph Sewer
  • Trevor Sorrell got reported for belting Ralph Sewer
  • Ralph Sewer got reported for belting Ivan Eckermann and Trevor Sorrell
  • Ralph Sewer got three weeks
  • Trevor Sorrell got one week
  • Ivan Eckermann got off
Sorell had just recently announced his retirement. The grand final was gonna be his last game and now he was gonna miss it through suspension. Talk about a suckarse way to end your career.

Four game rookie Martin Leslie and dual premiership player Peter Hofner were in line to replace him. Leslie had been starring in the reserves while Hofner had only played one game in the previous month after breaking a thumb at training. Big game experience won out.

Bomber Clifford was in serious doubt with a badly bruised heel but passed a fitness test and was cleared to play (a bunch of needles before the game also helped get him over the line.)

Glenelg players were told to take their phones off the hook on the Friday night before the game to get a good night’s rest. Club officials were worried about crank calls from crazy Port supporters. But on said Friday night, selectors made a late change, dropping Colin Anderson for rookie rover Tony McGuinness. They couldn’t get through to either of them because, well, they’d taken their phone off the hooks. Well, duh! Both found out about the change first thing in the morning. This happened to a co-worker recently. He got dropped for his club’s E-Grade grand final on the morning of the game. Three weeks later, he’s still bitching about it, stfu and fill the mother f@%king milk shelf already, bitch.


Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 10.17.42 am.png


Game Day

This one was over at quarter time.

A six goal-to-one opening blitz gave us a commanding 35 point lead at the first break and we cruised to a 51 point win and our 27th premiership.

Rovers Brian Cunningham and Paul Belton were the dynamo duo around the packs; silky skilled 17yo Craig Bradley kicked three classy goals; so did Bomber Clifford, who booted an absolute monster from, according to various estimates, fifty metres out/from the centre of the ground/from light years away; David Granger launched the first handball into space to set up a goal and typically instilled the Fear of God into his opponents.

Speaking of God, this day belonged to God Himself, The GOAT, Russell Frank Ebert.

Ebert absolutely dominated - 25 kicks, 13 handballs, two goals - and was awarded the inaugural Jack Oatey Medal for BOG in the grand final. Weirdly, the medal wasn’t presented after the game. Hell, it wasn’t even announced until the next Wednesday. Weeks later, he was finally given his gong at the official league premiership dinner.

But it could’ve been so different. Six days before the grand final, Herb was driving through the Adelaide Hills with his wife and two kids when another vehicle jumped the median strip and ploughed into his car. The cars were banged up but no-one was hurt. Everyone got out without a scratch.

“We were lucky,” Ebert said at the unveiling of the premiership colours on the West End chimney. “So was the fellow in the other car.”

So was Ports farken.

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 10.19.48 am.png


Granger v Glenelg

Six minutes into the second quarter, Granger took out Neville Caldwell. Caldwell was stretchered off in his last game of footy. Glenelg considered taking civil action.

“We will be seeking legal advice,” Glenelg football director Harry Kernahan said. “Something has got to be done about these kinds of incidents before someone is killed.”

Glenelg didn’t pursue it in the courts but did pursue it at the tribunal. Granger became the first player to be reported on video evidence. He was suspended for six weeks.

Twenty years later on Today Tonight, Caldwell said he was still suffering from the clash, which he compared to “very bad whiplash you’d cop in a car accident,” and was still getting therapy to fight off “bad headaches and sleepless nights.”

“I was terrified," Granger told tabloid hack Frank Pangallo in a later TT story. "I thought he was dead.'

“I certainly [didn't] want to kill anybody on the football field - I just wanted to win.”

“The culture of football was to win at all costs.”

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 10.31.12 am.png


Next

More Port v Glenelg drama. The scene was set early in ’82 with a controversial draw at Footy Park. We got a dodgy free at the death. Andy Porplycia kicked a goal after the siren to level the scores. But this was just a teaser to the 1982 Preliminary Final, arguably the greatest goddamn non-Grand Final game in SANFL history. Glenelg won that classic by a point but the day is best remembered for David Granger’s rampage. He was reported four times, suspended for eight games and never played for Port again. The only time he came back to the club after that was when he broke into the changerooms to commit suicide in front of his old #18 locker bearing his name as a 100 game player.

Scores 81.png
 
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RussellEbertHandball

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Full game replay inc intro and pre game.

The Bomber Clifford long bomb goal is at 41:20. The old days the square was 45mx45m ( ie old 50 yards) and wasn't changed to 50m until 2004. Footy Park Fence to Fence was 177m. That torp hit the fence on the full so the kick was about 177/2 = 88.5m -22.5m as he kicked it almost on the square line = 66m at a minimum. The game opens up after this as Port were 2.5 before Bomber's kick and we finish the 1st quarter at 6.5 and get advantage on the scoreboard of having the strong breeze that picked up after the first 5 minutes or so.

Bomber likes telling the story how the ball carried over the back of the stand, landed in a taxi and ended up at Semaphore and its the longest recorded kick from leaving the boot to where it stopped moving. :)



 
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Ford Fairlane

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1981 Premiership

In 1977 Port Adelaide broke its 12 year premiership drought and in the same year celebrated rock band The Eagles released Hotel California as a single from the album of the same name. Hotel California is recognised as a classic rock offering and has been open to various interpretations. It contains a lyric that summed up Port Adelaide’s 1981 season:

They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can’t kill the beast


Port Adelaide faced its most challenging year as it strived for what Americans like to call the Three-peat and what Australians a little less laconically call three in a row, Premierships in 1979-1980-1981. Defections, injury and form concerns appeared to be derailing Port’s campaign from the outset, much to the barely disguised glee of opposition clubs and media commentators. But as they were to discover, Port Adelaide are not so readily written off.

Port Adelaide’s stellar 1980 team was weakened for the 1981 season with the move of Mark Wiliams to Collingwood, while Milan Faletic was recruited by St Kilda. The lure of the VFL competition and their clubs’ not always cashed up cheque books was hitting home in South Australia, again impacting the state’s greatest club. Mark Williams was an instant hit in Victoria gaining VFL state team selection and winning Collingwood’s Copeland Trophy in his first year.

On the credit side, as part of the Williams deal, talented young Collingwood ruckman Russell Johnston moved to Alberton (where he became a team-mate of David Granger who was suspended for striking Johnston in a VFL reserves match in 1979). Tony Martyn was recruited from the Melbourne Football Club during the season, proving to be a tough and skilful wingman who performed admirably in the 1981 Grand Final.

Of the local players, tall, tough young defender Danny Hughes from Cummins in Port’s productive west coast country recruiting zone established himself in the league side, debuting at 17 years of age. Hughes would go on to become one of the game’s leading full backs first with Port Adelaide and later with Melbourne in the VFL. A lightly framed but sublimely skilled youngster by the name of Craig Bradley debuted for the Magpies and played in the 1981 Grand Final. A bout of glandular fever in May restricted Bradley to 5 games, but he was selected as soon as he fully recovered. Bradley of course went on to have an exceptional football career with Port Adelaide and later Carlton in the VFL. Russell Ebert’s younger brother Craig (father of current Power star Brad Ebert) was recruited from North Adelaide’s zone and played 7 games in 1981. Another youngster, Martin Leslie, played 4 games, just missing out on a 1981 Grand Final berth and also went on to have an illustrious career with Port Adelaide and later Brisbane.

The SANFL introduced two new awards to the competition, with the Jack Oatey Medal officially recognising the best player in the grand final and the Ken Farmer Medal acknowledging the league’s leading goalkicker for the season. When the dust settled on the 1981 season, Port Adelaide, history-makers as always, had engraved the names of club champions Russell Ebert and Tim Evans on both newly minted medals.

However, this was far from the club’s thinking early in the 1981 season as injury appeared set to cruel Port in its defence of the 1980 premiership. Disaster struck in round 1 in a 51 point loss to Glenelg at Football Park as champion Port centre half back Greg Phillips went down with a torn Achilles tendon. Phillips opted against season-ending surgery, hoping natural healing would see him back during the 1981 season.

Russell Ebert was initially moved back into the key outer defence post, but allied with the pre-season loss of Milan Faletic, this left a gaping hole in John Cahill’s forward structure. This in turn was leaving Tim Evans exposed at full forward allowing opposition defences to concentrate all their attention on the champion full forward, although Evans was still productive with 34 goals after 9 rounds. Volatile and gifted centre half forward strongman David Granger was the obvious solution but Granger was struggling with injury and suspension.

While Russell Ebert performed creditably in defence, Port missed the superb balance of defensive and attacking instinct Phillips had honed as the general of the Port defence. Port in turn missed Ebert’s massive influence on the ball. This turned into a crisis as Port’s champion rover combination of Brian Cunningham and Darrell Cahill fell by the wayside in the first part of the season with long term groin injuries. Ebert was returned to the midfield as first year key defender Danny Hughes filled centre half back.

As the halfway point of the year approached, the near invincible Port Adelaide of 1980 was a mere shadow of its glorious self, tumbling to seventh place on 4 wins and 5 losses. Port had suffered three losses in the preceding 4 weeks to West Adelaide at Alberton (16 points), North Adelaide at Alberton (50 points) and South Adelaide at Football Park (8 points). Only a 14 point win against lowly Woodville at Woodville between the West and North defeats broke the sequence. The following week Woodville were beaten by Sturt at Woodville by 161 points. While John Cahill maintained there was no such thing as a bad win, Port supporters were feeling worried.

The loss to North Adelaide at Alberton prompted prominent South Australian football commentator Ken Cunningham to write off Port Adelaide’s chances of making the finals to defend its 1980 premiership. He declared the Magpies were ‘gone’ and the buzz was reverberating through the media. The steely knives were indeed being sharpened.
Port’s round 1 conqueror Glenelg on the other hand were steamrolling unchallenged through the 1981 competition. Seemingly stung by their ignominious exit from the 1980 finals series, the Bays had swept all before them to remain unbeaten through the first 10 rounds of the 1981 season.

But the winds of change were blowing and first full gusty breeze was felt by Sturt in round 10, the week after Port had lost to South Adelaide. David Granger, having overcome his injury and suspension issues returned to Port’s key outer forward post and had an immediate impact. Mercurial and volatile, tempestuous and brilliant, the prodigiously talented and rugged Granger rejuvenated the struggling Port Adelaide forward line not only through his own significant contributions but also by imposing himself physically to create time and space for Tim Evans and protect the small forwards.
Port Adelaide comfortably dispatched the then second-placed Sturt by 34 points and the electricity of an emergent Port Adelaide was alive in the air. Ominously for the competition too, number 22 Greg Phillips reappeared on the reserves team sheet.

David Granger’s return was not without drama though. He was reported by four umpires for a seemingly legitimate hip and shoulder bump on Sturt’s Nigel Wark. Granger interviewed post-match said there was nothing wrong with the bump, it was just a fair hip and shoulder. John Cahill said the umpires were creating a soft, wide game that could end the fierce physical contact that players considered acceptable if not enjoyable. The SANFL tribunal dismissed the charge leaving Granger free to play on. Ken Cunningham, admitting he had not seen the incident, couldn’t accept all the umpires were in the wrong. But it was clear Granger was increasingly coming to the attention of the lawmakers. This was to have repercussions beyond the 1981 season and for football rules as we knew them.

Nonetheless, the stage was set for Port’s return encounter with the unbeaten Glenelg, this time at the Bay Oval. David Granger was available and Greg Phillips had returned from his Achilles tendon injury. However, with Glenelg in control and leading early it was feared Port’s resurgence would be short-lived. The Bays led by 29 points at quarter time and added a fifth goal in the second quarter before Port had goaled. But that man again, the impossible, irrepressible Granger launched a torpedo punt from centre wing with a heavy ball for a goal and the Magpies were alight. By half time the margin was a slender 3 points in Glenelg’s favour. Port stormed home in the second half to defeat Glenelg by 21 points on their own dunghill and snap their unbeaten streak. There is a memorable moment in that game where Peter Carey shoved Granger in the back to win a ruck contest but tapped it straight to Paul Belton who ran into an open goal. Granger started to jog back to position, but stopped, turned, pointed at Carey and laughed. It became a classic moment captured by a media photographer. This photo became a fitting twin set with a picture of David ‘conducting’ the Sturt cheer squad with a ‘double-V’ sign the previous week.

From then on, Port Adelaide was back in town. The beast had been wounded but to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of its demise were greatly exaggerated. From being seventh placed with 4 wins and 5 losses at round 9, Port Adelaide stormed home to win 11 of its remaining 13 games and claim second spot on the SANFL ladder with 15 wins and 7 losses, only percentage ahead of South Adelaide and behind Glenelg, which finished the minor round with a 19 win 3 loss record as it did in 1980. Greg Phillips, Darrell Cahill, Brian Cunningham and Craig Bradley all returned to the side during the second half of the year, but there were still some close wins, notably 1 point over Norwood at Norwood and 9 points over West at a sodden heavy Richmond track. But Port was regenerating its cohesion and winning comfortably was becoming a habit again. Tim Evans claimed the Ken Farmer Medal with 90 goals over the minor round. He was to finish with 98 goals by the end of the finals.

In the second part of the season Port’s two losses were to Centrals by 23 points at Elizabeth in round 14 and minor round nemesis Glenelg at Alberton by 26 points in round 17. An outlandish scorecard saw Port leading that game at half time by 34 points, 7.10 to 3.0. The Bays had an outrageous second half, kicking 13.2 to Port’s 2.8 to run out winners 16.2 (98) to 9.18 (72). This was the last game Port lost in 1981. Port was missing Trevor Sorrell, Greg Phillips, Russell Johnston, Bruce Abernethy, Brian Cunningham, Darrell Cahill, Craig Bradley and Andy Porplycia. Nearly all were available for the 1981 Grand Final.

Port Adelaide met Norwood in the final minor round game of the 1981 season at Football Park. The 1980 Grand Final combatants who had fought each other to a standstill in that memorable game were playing for a top three finish. An unprecedented minor round crowd of 35,213 attended the match. Norwood produced a Glenelg-like scoreline of 12.1 but was no match for the by then rampant Magpies who obliterated the Redlegs on their way to kicking 16.23 and winning by 46 points, a margin which greatly flattered Norwood and relegated them to another Elimination Final. This was the third time Port had dispatched Norwood during the season, with the one point win at Norwood and a 36 point win in the traditional Anzac Day clash of the previous year’s grand finalists. Port had beaten Norwood in eight consecutive games over 1979-80-81.

Port met South Adelaide in the Qualifying Final and summarily dismissed the Panthers by 41 points, 18.22 (130) to 12.17 (89) to set up the final everyone was looking forward to, Port v Glenelg in the Second Semi Final. As contests go, the Second Semi was not one. Port turned on its typical finals power to prey on Glenelg’s mental fragility in finals, especially finals against the Magpies. Port destroyed the Bays by an even nine goals in front of 35,002 spectators, 22.15 (147) to 13.15 (93). Glenelg despite 19 wins in the minor round for two consecutive years were physically and psychologically crushed by Port Adelaide.

The only damage Glenelg had done to Port was in the tribunal room where Trevor Sorrell was suspended for one match for striking following an altercation between Sorrell, Ralph Sewer and Ivan Eckermann. Sewer was suspended for three games while Eckermann was reprimanded. Sorrell’s ‘love tap’ while undisciplined seemed innocuous enough, delivered with a quip about Sewer’s choice of clubs in moving from Woodville to Glenelg. But the decision stood. Peter Hofner ultimately edged out Martin Leslie for a spot in the 1981 Grand Final team.

Glenelg were consigned to the Preliminary Final where Norwood had arrived ominously with comprehensive wins over West Adelaide (33 points) and South Adelaide (83 points). Surprisingly, Glenelg hauled itself up from the mauling handed out by Port Adelaide to comfortably account for Norwood by 55 points.

Port Adelaide met Glenelg in the Grand Final on Saturday 3 October 1981, in front of 52,659 spectators. The game was officiated by Peter Mead and Bob Scholefield. The 1981 Grand Final was no more a contest than the Second Semi Final. Kicking with the breeze in the first quarter under overcast skies, Port Adelaide simply rag-dolled Glenelg from the opening bounce with its typical strong aggressive finals football and scintillating teamwork. Glenelg’s early attempt at some physicality fell apart as Neville Caldwell was left unconscious and stretchered from the field following a collision with David Granger. Russell Ebert was controlling the centre and the quarter was punctuated by a monster torpedo goal by Stephen Clifford from inside the centre square. By quarter time the margin was 35 points, 6.5 (41) to 1.0 (6) and in the mind of most pundits, the game was over.

Another line from The Eagles Hotel California comes to mind

You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave


Glenelg had checked out of the Grand Final sometime in the first quarter but they couldn’t leave.

The game’s memorable moment came in the second quarter as David Granger fired out a 30 metre handball to Russell Ebert running through half forward. Ebert accepted the handball, cut inside, took a couple of bounces then slotted an imperious goal, raising his arms in triumph. Even Russell, circumspect champion that he is, knew the Bays were done. Although kicking into the breeze, at half time Port had slightly stretched its lead to 38 points 8.6 to 2.4.

Despite losing Bruce Abernethy to a hamstring strain in the second quarter, Port added another 4.5 in the third quarter and stretched its lead to 66 points at three quarter time, compiling 23 scoring shots to 7 at that point in the game. Coming home to the scoring end Glenelg outscored Port in the last quarter but hardly saved face. The final margin was 51 points, 14.11 (95) to 6.8 (44). For the third time in three years Port Adelaide’s captain was to raise the Thomas Seymour Hill trophy in victory.

The maestro, Russell Ebert won the inaugural Jack Oatey Medal for best afield in a grand final with a commanding 37 possession game to dictate the match from the midfield. He was closely followed by tough and cheeky Stephen ‘Bomber’ Clifford in a dominant midfield quinella supported by skilful rovers Brian Cunningham and Paul Belton, with Darrell Cahill excelling in his usual on-ball and loose man in defence role. Tony Martyn and Kim Kinnear played traditional tough Port finals football pumping the ball forward from the wings and super-talented Craig Bradley capitalised with 3 goals 1 point to lead all scorers. Clifford also added three straight goals. The entire Port defensive unit, led by general Greg Phillips, was superb in shutting down Glenelg’s forward options, reducing the Bays to six individual goal scorers. Suspended Trevor Sorrell joined his team-mates for the traditional lap of honour and retired after the game.

John Cahill had established himself as one of the coaching greats as the architect of Port’s 1979-1980-1981 Premiership trifecta and four Premierships in five years. Cahill joined Port Adelaide immortal Fos Williams and Sturt’s Jack Oatey as the only coaches to convert two consecutive premierships into three since 1907.

In a sour post-script to the game, Glenelg’s Football Director Harry Kernahan used video evidence to report David Granger for striking Neville Caldwell. Glenelg called for a five year ban on Granger, who was suspended for six matches by the league tribunal. The incident fuelled the increasingly hostile and bitter relationship between Port and Glenelg which was to deteriorate further in 1982 and reignite in fury in 1990.

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Enviable Tradition

Professional Procrastinator
Oct 12, 2007
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Hows the Magpies team photo in the paper this morning.

It looked wierd seeing every AFL player who has played a game for the Maggies in it even if they are ineligible for finals.

I wonder if this was the club wanting to show unity or the SANFL wanting to make it look like we had more AFL quality players in the finals than we do.

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Magpiespower

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 16, 2004
11,968
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What we’re gonna do right here is go back, waaaaaay back, back into time…

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Once upon a time, the Port Adelaide Football Club didn’t accept mediocrity, didn’t tolerate it and sure as sh!t didn’t reward it with a fat contract extension to buy enough Coke Zero for all of Shirley MacLaine’s lifetimes.

Seven years had passed since our last premiership. The Port natives, and I don’t mean the West Torrens kind, were restless. None more so than Club Prez Bruce Weber. Jack of finals failure, Weber sacked sacked a hero, a legend, an icon, a man revered and respected throughout the footy world.

And we almost burned the joint down. Well, we rallied at the Lighthouse to reinstate Russell Ebert as coach but by then it was all too late. Jack was back.

Every Port v Glenelg game in the 80s was pretty much a Grand Final, goddammit. There was always some crazy sh!t going down. And while the win/loss split was pretty even, it’s fair to say The Bays had it over us. They gave us some big beltings and stood up big time in the big games:
  • The infamous 1982 Preliminary Deathmatch
  • The 1986 Qualifying Final when Scott Salisbury tried to decapitate Magarey Medallist in waiting Greg Anderson
  • The 1987 First Semi-Final when we hit the post five times in a heartbreaking two point loss
Also, Glenelg won back-to-back flags in ’85/86 while we almost went broke amid a painful rebuild.

As if the heat wasn’t already on, local muso and family friend of our own Teal Plums, Andy Upton, had a top-20 hit on the SAFM charts with “The Magpies Expect to Win,” boldly predicting a Port premiership in 1988.



Ins & Outs

Mark Warton pinged his hammy (I think?) in the 2nd Semi-Final and was ruled out, leaving a spot open for Greg Boyd or Daryl Chynoweth. My mate’s dero dad worked with Daryl at the time. Two amazing things about this:
  1. My mate’s dero dad had a job.
  2. My mate’s dero dad taught me how to correctly pronounce Daryl’s surname.
Turns out it wasn’t “Chy-no-weth” as I’d been saying all year; it was “Chin-now.” Unfortunately for Chinnow, Boydy got the nod.

Russell Johnston was the big out, of course. But we’d known he’d probably miss from yonks ago, round 19 to be exact when he copped a five-game suspension for striking Sturt’s Carl Dilena in that epic one-point loss at Footy Park. By some of the posts in wake of the current Tiger captain’s selective concussion, the palpable anger at this grave injustice still rages.

Unpopular Port opinion: Johnno deserved his fair whack for his fair whack.

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Game Day

This game was wild!

Played at a frenetic pace, it was an open, fast, free-flowing contest. Both teams attacked body and ball relentlessly. This wasn’t unsociable football. It was anti-social football. And no-one took a backwards step.

The number of times we tried to kill Scott Salisbury, lol. “I’ll be amazed if he gets out of here alive today,” noted Peter Marker after someone tried to rip his head off for the umpteenth time.

Port started nervously, hitting the post three times - it’s the ’87 First Semi all over again, ffs! - as Glenelg jumped out to three goal lead. Then Tiger wingman Mark Hewett marked twenty metres out on a slight angle and I lost my sh!t.

"WE’VE LOST IT," I cried from section L, row D, seat #34 in the Northern pocket, still haunted by the ghosts of ’84.

Dad calmed me down. He’d seen us slowly work our way back into the game - we just had to hit the scoreboard, that’s all. Oh stfu, Dad, when Hewett kicks this, the Bays will be four goals up! But he missed. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

F@%k Warnie’s “Ball of the Century,” Browny ripped the greatest leggie of all-time to kick Port’s first goal early in the second quarter [EDIT: technically, it was an offie, but it turned that sharp, carn.] And we were away! Getting on top, we converted our dominance in general play to lead by seven points at half-time. Cue my most favourite bit of footy commentary ever and forever. Take it away, Daryl Hicks:



The game erupted in the third term. Spotfires broke out everywhere. Big brawls and huge haymakers. Pretty much every player on the ground would be reported today, lmao. Taking complete control, we grabbed a grip on this game so tight Albert DeSalvo AKA “The Boston Syrangler” tried to claim credit from the grave (doubt remains about some of the murders old mate fessed up to.) The last quarter was a mere formality as we ran out 29 point winners.

Bruce Abernethy starred across half-back; David Hynes was a colussus rucking solo all day; George Fiacchi ran his full distance every time and almost got caught every time; Leslie, Phillips, Delaney were superb in defence; Stephen Williams won plenty of the ball.

John Cahill's back, it's good to know
He's leading us again
And when the season’s over
Premiers agaaaiiiinnnnnn…
Andy Upton, you were right!

Premiership aside, the big worry for me was taping the game on our new National VHS Mum and Dad had forked out $1000 for only to see it going for $200 in Hong Kong a few months later during a stopover from a holiday to our homeland, Ireland. I was sh!t-scared Mum would stuff up the timer recording I’d carefully set up.

“Don’t touch the video,” I said. “You can use the remote to change channels to Elvis, John Wayne, Tarzan and crap - but don’t touch the video!”

Fast forward eight hours later, we’re back home and I rushed to the video and Mum barked:

“Yerra, I didn’t touch da feckin ting!”

Sure enough, she didn’t. Me and Dad watched the game all over again. By the time it finished, the 10.35 replay was just about to start on the ABC.

“Ah, be Jesus, you must be kidding me. You just watched it. Give over your sh!ttin’ nonsense!”

P!ssed off, Mum stomped off to bed to read her Mills & Boon while me and Dad watched the replay. Personal highlight: getting my flag on national TV thanks to my ABC:





Ebert v Cahill

Some outraged Port supporters quit the club when Ebert was sacked and followed him to Oval Avenue when he was appointed Woodville coach. They’re a rare bird, almost extinct, but they exist. My mate was one of them. He became a die-hard Eagles fan. Even rocked up with us to the ’94 Premiership celebrations at Alberton, lol.

Russ had the first laugh, leading Woodville to Escort Cup glory, the first and only league premiership of any kind the Warriors won in their dismal twenty-seven seasons. Man, that p!ssed me off, mainly coz I knew I was gonna cop a bucketload of sh!t at school the next day. And I did.

Thank f@%k Jack had the last laugh.

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Next

Sacking Ebert was just Bruce Weber letting off firecrackers. Port’s Prez was about to drop a bomb on SA footy. A one million megaton atomic bomb. F@%king BOOM!!!

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