The AFL finals can do funny things to sensible people. But an Adelaide supporter barracking for the Power against an interstate side? Not this Crows fan.
It was put to me this week that a strange, unifying force had swept South Australia bringing with it newfound love between Adelaide and Port Adelaide fans.
The state was supposedly awash with pride thanks to the aura of Adelaide Oval.
Somehow, old tensions had been diluted to the point where Crows fans would – wait for it – barrack for Port in September. The Crows aren’t playing in the finals so the locals switch allegiances to their crosstown rivals for September.
It’s a nice idea but it’s also total rubbish.
I’m all for love but nothing about Port makes me go warm and fuzzy – well, unless someone misses a goal from twenty metres out directly in front.
The rivalry is and always will be ferocious.
Yes, Adelaide Oval is magnificent. At last South Australian footy fans have a place of worship in the heart of the city. The ground has kept its old charm. The historical scoreboard and grassy area still exist and the viewing experience is superb.
There is a sense of pride for all South Australians but, no matter how impressive the redevelopment is, it doesn’t have the power to erase hostilities that date back to a time long before the Crows and Port entered the AFL.
I’m a proud South Australian. I round my vowels, I speak with bogus authority about wine and get away with it, I’ve cage-dived with Great Whites and I firmly believe the Coffin Bay oyster is the greatest living creature on earth (and even better shucked with a twist of lemon).
But I just don’t buy into all this bipartisan nonsense.
I’m not denying strange forces in football. There’s one gripping Melbourne at the moment. Bizarrely Carlton and Collingwood fans have jumped on the Richmond bandwagon.
My guess is it has very little to do with state pride and more to do with temporary insanity coupled with a feeling the Tigers will be knocked out in the first week of the finals.
If anything, the rivalry between the Crows and Port is stronger than ever. Both clubs have found new things to get hot under the collar about, a new set of honours – the loudest crowd, best pre-match entertainment, highest attendance figures, best haircut and any other dubious records associated with the move to Adelaide Oval.
Everything is a competition.
That’s what really lies beneath this seemingly cosy feeling of shared pride in Adelaide Oval.
Port Power is a force on and off the field. The club, once seen as a poor cousin, is now a legitimate adversary. The gloves are well and truly off.
There was, however, joint outrage over the Port guernsey farce. Not enough to warrant an offer of help to stitch numbers on the hastily arranged batch of prison-bar jumpers but a mutual feeling of anger towards the AFL over its perceived double standards on the issue of clash jumpers.
‘Jumper-Gate’ aside, I’m not convinced by the state pride argument. It’s just a tool used by the tabloids to whip readers into a state of frenzy to sell papers.
Of course there will always be those people who put state before club and that’s beautiful and noble.
I’m sure a few tartan rugs will make their way to Adelaide Oval on Sunday for the Port/Richmond elimination final just for the experience of being at the first finals game at the venue. One or two of these fans may even barrack for Port.
I’m just not wired that way.