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

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Ford Fairlane

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1988 review from Macca19

1988 was a season of change, of new beginnings and ultimately, a year of success. After the close finals heartbreak of 1986 and 1987, the club decided to part ways with Russell Ebert - a decision that nearly tore the club in half. Jack Cahill returned to the club as coach after a 5 year absence and would bring with him an era of success that helped to catapult the Port Adelaide Football Club onto the national stage.

Not only were there key changes off field, but a number of changes on field would pay future dividends. One of the key moments of the season was Round 4 against Norwood at the Parade. Anthony Williams tragic passing sent shockwaves throughout the club and would see brother Stephen miss the clash. Inconsistent rover George Fiacchi came back into the side to replace Stephen in his back pocket – a move that would see George win a Jack Oatey Medal and become a 7 time premiership player. Stephen would return and become one of the premier midfielders in the competition. Facing a 4 goal defecit going into the last quarter, Port Adelaide dug deep and recorded one of the clubs greatest and most emotional of victories. This win was the catalyst of the season.

Round 6 saw another vital on field change. Regular defender Martin Leslie played the first part of the season filling a hole at Centre Half Forward. Through injury, he missed Round 6 against West Adelaide, forcing Cahill to play regular Full Forward Darren Smith at Centre Half Forward and moving fledgling flanker Scott Hodges to the goal face. Smith would become a 7 time premiership Centre Half Forward and as for Hodges, well, who could predict that he would become one of the most dominant SANFL footballers of the post-war era. Roger Delaney, David Brown, Andrew Obst, David Hutton and Rohan Smith would be other young players to cement themselves as SANFL stars.

On field it was also the year of the comeback. 4 times throughout the year the team would come back from 20+ point deficits to win. This came twice against rival Glenelg, and no more stunning than on the eve of the finals in Round 20. Facing a 30 point ¾ time margin, the team on the back of a dominant midfield performance would storm home to win in emphatic fashion.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing however. In Round 19, Port would not only lose a classic to Sturt by a single point in front of 38,000 people, it would lose its inspirational Captain Russell Johnston to suspension for the rest of the year. A 5 week lay off would mean that the club would need to lose a final to have its Captain play again in 1988.

Losing a final was never an option. Port Adelaide finished top of the ladder with 16 wins for the season and would face arch-rival Norwood in the Second Semi Final. Port dominated the play and won comfortably by 60points. Norwood failed to kick a goal in the first half and their final score of 2.5 17 was the lowest SANFL finals score in nearly 70 years. Port Adelaide was into another Grand Final.

For the second year running, Glenelg won its way into the Grand Final from the Elimination Final, defeating Sturt, Central and Norwood along the way. As well as losing Johnston, Port lost Mark Warton to a hamstring tear at training during grand final week. This gave a reprieve to experienced premiership winning defender Greg Boyd.

Port started strong favourites against the Tigers, but it was Glenelg that would settle first and take control of the first quarter. Glenelg kicked three goals for the term and kept Port Adelaide goalless to lead by 19 points at the first change. It could have been a 24 point margin had Peter Carey not missed from 20 out in front on the siren.

But as Port Adelaide did so often in 1988, it settled, regrouped and worked its way back on top. It took to the seven minute mark of the quarter for Port to kick its first major – a snap from 50 to the top of the square that took a right angled bounce through the goals. From that moment on, it was all Port Adelaide. Port Adelaide’s centre line became impenetrable as Stephen Williams put the clamps on the damaging Alan Stringer, the likes of Hutton, Obst and Rohan Smith winning plenty of the ball and David Hynes dominant in the ruck. The Magpies peppered the attack and hit the front after goals to Tim Ginever and a wonderful left foot snap on the run by Rohan Smith. Port led at the main break by 7 points.

The third quarter was more of the same. Scott Hodges opened the scoring with successive goals and when Richard Foster slotted a great left foot snap off the pack midway through the term the Magpies led by 27 points and had full control of the contest. Glenelg goaled through Craig Budarick to end the quarter, their first goal in over 60 minutes of game time.

With a margin of 21 points at the final change, the match was still well and truly for the taking for either side. David Browns early goal was cancelled out by Craig Budarick but it was the lightning quick Phil Harrison running into an open goal 10 minutes in that put Port Adelaide in the box seat. Scott Hodges’ fourth goal moments later looked to seal Glenelg’s fate. But, to Glenelg’s credit, they kicked two goals in two minutes to put the pressure back on the Magpies. It would be two of the club’s best midfielders that would seal Port Adelaides first premiership since 1981. Tim Ginever goaled 22 minutes in and when Stephen Williams played on and goaled from 30 metres out it was party time. The match, and the premiership, was Port Adelaide’s.

Port Adelaide had many heroes on the day, with the back line being one of the shining lights. The half back line of Martin Leslie, Greg Phillips and Bruce Abernethy is widely considered one of the greatest in the South Australian football folklore. All three had mighty games, none more so than Abernethy. Abernethy’s opponent Darren Mansell kicked the first two goals of the match, but from that moment on, Abernethy kept him almost possession less for the rest of the match. Not only did Abernethy shut out a dangerous opponent, he became the teams prime ball mover, picking up a massive 26 disposals and 10 marks off a back flank. His dominant performance was rewarded with the Jack Oatey Medal. Roger Delaney kept Max Kruse to just the one kick in the first three quarters, whilst late inclusion Greg Boyd had a stellar game in a back pocket. Acting Captain Martin Leslie and George Fiacchi picked up near 50 disposals between them, rebounding with pace and class.

David Hynes effort in the ruck is also worthy of special note. Hynes filled the void of the suspended Russell Johnston with aplomb, rucking tirelessly all match to pick up 21 disposals, 26 hitouts and 6 marks to be only a whisker away from taking the Jack Oatey away from Abernethy. Hynes fed the likes of Tim Ginever (28 disposals, 2 goals), Stephen Williams (25 disposals, 1 goal) and David Brown (20 disposals, 2 goals) all day. Scott Hodges finished with 4 goals to be the leading scorer on the ground. Martin Leslie and a tear filled Russell Johnston held the cup aloft to the cheers of the Port Adelaide faithful.

Not only did Port Adelaide win the league premiership, it completed the double with the reserves winning the premiership over Woodville. Mark Tylor kicked 9 goals in a 50 point victory.

A decade of brilliance had begun.

Port Adelaide 12.12 (84)
Glenelg 8.7 (55)
Best: Abernethy, Hynes, Ginever, Delaney, Williams, Leslie, Fiacchi, Phillips, Brown
Goals: Hodges 4; Brown, Ginever 2; Foster, R Smith, Harrison, Williams

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

Ford Fairlane

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Port played Norwood in the last minor round game of 1988 and Norwood failed to kick a goal in the second half. Then in the Qualifying final, Norwood failed to kick a goal in the first half. So Norwood were held goalless over four consecutive quarters by Port Adelaide. Neil Balme was shattered.

Port only kicked 10 goals in the Qualifying Final but still won by 10 goals (10.17 to 2.5).
 

Rising Power

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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.



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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No wonder Glenelg lost, Wayne Stringer had to play both back flanks!
 

chiwigi

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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.

On SM-G960F using BigFooty.com mobile app
They all contributed to the season.

I think it's strange that only those who play in the day get a medal. You can play every game and score every goal for a club bar one and get nothing or play one game and be a premiership hero!
 

Rising Power

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They all contributed to the season.

I think it's strange that only those who play in the day get a medal. You can play every game and score every goal for a club bar one and get nothing or play one game and be a premiership hero!
Derek Kickett in 1993, poor bugger.
 

SteppingTiger

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Thanks for the posts, great memories.

My earliest memory is of the ‘we won ‘81 three in a row’ poster on the back of the toilet door.

Crying at the end of the ‘84 GF and then being amazed at the all night celebrations by family and friends in ‘88.

Look forward to the next instalment!
 

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Andre

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They all contributed to the season.

I think it's strange that only those who play in the day get a medal. You can play every game and score every goal for a club bar one and get nothing or play one game and be a premiership hero!
It should remain a medal for the day, but every player who played at least one game should get a Premiership ring (AFL and SANFL competitions).
 

GremioPower

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They all contributed to the season.

I think it's strange that only those who play in the day get a medal. You can play every game and score every goal for a club bar one and get nothing or play one game and be a premiership hero!
Yep. I find it strange too. Here, the title posters have the team who played the final, but the official picture have the entire squad, each player with his own title band. (Yes. Just like miss contests.)
 

Burton89onegoal

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2 vital plays in 88 GF were David Brown's lucky goal where it looked like not being close but turned on a funny angle to go through....and Jim West missing from 10 metres out straight in front.
 

Magpiespower

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

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Bruce Weber was the most hated man in SA.

He was a bigger villain than Bevan Spencer von Einem. Seriously, for dragging this state kicking and screaming into the AFL, Weber was more reviled than a notorious serial killer facing two fresh murder charges. Adelaide is most sensitive about its rep for bizarre murders and weird sh!t but even more sensitive to change.

Footy civil war was declared, Kerls wanted us kicked out of the comp and KG almost got lynched at Alberton, needing a police escort to get out alive.

Meanwhile… footy!

Glenelg had become so popular by 1990, they even had supporters in Salisbury, an area traditionally split between Port and Centrals (with the odd Norwood refugee.) A few of my high school mates barracked for The Bays and we spent the whole season arguing about who was the better rookie: Matthew Liptak or Gavin Wanganeen. Not even joking.

Port and Glenelg were a cut above the rest of the comp, playing in their own two-team league, basically, so it was no big deal they squared off in the big one (again.)



Ins & Outs

David Brown and Rohan Smith were casualties of the 91 point demolition of North in the Prelim. Browny did his hammy while Rohan had his jaw broken by recidivist gutless sniper Kim “Never Hit A Bloke Who Was Looking At Me” Klomp. Tim Ginever was struggling with a bung ankle. Russell Boyd was dropped after missing a training session.

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Game Day

The last grand final. Port Adelaide versus the world.

Neutral fans invariably throw their support behind a team on grand final day. Not his time. There's no neutrals here. Here, there's no neutrals. Neutrals, no. Desperate to give the traitors their richly deserved comeuppance, the rest of the state got behind hot faves Glenelg. The “Us against Them” mentality the PAFC had thrived on for 120 years had never been so profound.

Fast. Ferocious. Rough. Rugged. Tense. This high stakes game lived up to its high expectations in the first half. Something had to give… and it was Scott Hodges’ knee, ffs.

The whole crowd fell silent as he writhed in agony after landing awkwardly in a marking contest, roared when he got back up and lamented/celebrated the premiership as he hobbled off the ground.



Two-minutes and twenty-four seconds minutes of footy broke the game wide open. Two freak goals by Adrian Settre and a long bomb from Stephen Williams deep into time-on gave us a four goal lead at half-time. Mr. Footypunt, Graham Campbell, reckoned we kicked those goals “in about 45 seconds” but I legit just timed it, so yeah.

Seeing Scotty and his heavily-bandaged knee come back out after half-time gave us hope. Confession: I didn’t think we could win without him. We probably wouldn’t have. We were down to fifteen fit men, farken. Also, he wasn't just a superstar that year, he was Sirius, the brightest star in the whole goddamn galaxy.

Scotty bagged three more in the second half, breaking the record for most goals kicked in a season (153), none more important than his major putting us 35 points up in the last quarter

[EDIT: Turns out Smithy kicked it. Just trust my (failing) memory, farken.]

Surely, we were home. But wait... there's more! Glenelg made one last desperate surge, peppering the goals. We hung on desperately, soaking up the the clock at every opportunity. The last fifteen minutes were excruciating. We were so desperate, Scotty was on the centre wing, rucking the throw-in, when the siren sounded.

PORT ADELAIDE, F@%K YEAH!!!

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Jack Oatey Medallist George Fiacchi was magnificent in one back pocket, ditto Paul Rizonico in the other; Greg Phillips controlled the defence as always; Bruce Abernethy and Mark Williams shut out key Tigers playmakers Marshall and McDermott; David Hynes again heroically carried the ruck for most of the day; a 17yo kid should not be able to play with such calm and poise on such a big occasion, but Gavin Wanganeen; Adrian Settre popped up with three clever goals.

To this day, every time I bring up the 1990 Grand Final - and I bring it up all the time, I mean, shit, it’s the proudest moment in our club’s proud history, our greatest win, the sweetest, sexiest, most satisfying premiership of them all - my Glenelg mate just shakes his head and mutters three words:

“Adrian. F@%king. Settre.”




Dat Graham Cornes Speech

“When we look at the game and the teams on paper… there was absolutely no logical reason why Port Adelaide should have won today. We had everything going for us in terms of the way the game fell for us in that regard. But when you look at the logical reasons and say why didn’t we win, you’ve got to look at the emotional reasons and they encompass emotion, discipline, desperation, commitment. That’s where the advantage was and that’s where you guys were magnificent. And I really do want to say to John - well done - he’s always a tough competitor. To the guys - you can be really proud of yourself. As I said, there’s no logical reason why you should’ve done it… In that regard, you have my respect and my admiration. But I want to tell you that you want to enjoy this moment for what it is because the good times are well and truly gone. Apart from Jack and the players, there’s a couple of individuals out there who are responsible for that and make sure you enjoy tonight - WE’LL WIN FOUR IN A ROW, F@%K YA! - the good times will not happen again. Well done, boys."




Next

Thx to Bruce Weber and the Port Adelaide Football Club, the AFL comes to town (and doesn’t the whole hypocritical state lap it up, fetishising “Kick-A-Vic” every week in quasi State-of-Origin games.) But in a shocking twist, our bitter modern rival upstaged us on the biggest stage. Behold the Glenelg Crows!

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