I’ve waited nearly a week to post this because I wanted to marshal my thoughts and not fire off simply based on emotion.
I’ll start by telling a story: at the end of September I’m taking three months off my job to travel across the US, Canada, Cuba and Mexico. It’s the absolute trip of a life time and I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ve been on a couple of overseas trips over the past few years and each time I’ve made sure to go after the footy season is over. I adore finals footy and grand final day is even better than Christmas in my mind. This year I wanted to take my extended trip and there wasn’t really a way to do it that allowed me to see out the season.
So I opened up my calendar and requested three months off starting on the 29 August. That would mean I’d been away for around five weeks before grand final day. Given Port Adelaide’s amazing ascension over the past two seasons I was certain this was going to be our year and I’d be destined to miss out on it. I’m not sure I could bear it. I also have a membership that gives me access to the ticket ballot for the GF meaning it was not only likely we’d be there but that I could go. So I made the executive decision that if Port made the grand final, I’d fly back. I’d throw $1500 at the problem and make sure I was home for that last weekend in September (or first weekend in October as the case may be).
Unfortunately my dad has decided to retire this year after 39 years in the New South Wales police force and his retirement function has been set for 19 September. Which then necessitated pushing my holiday back by three weeks and with it being too close to the grand final weekend, I’ve come to the sad realisation that I won’t have been away long enough to make it worthwhile to come back, nor is the time frame short enough that I can just push my holiday back until after the game.
The other sad realisation has, of course, been that Port Adelaide don’t look to be half the team they were in 2014 or even 2013 and are less likely to make the grand final than I assumed. We’re showing flashes of brilliance but the consistency, the determination the excitement and the run just don’t seem to be there. So no matter what my holiday planning looks like, it may not even matter.
The loss against Richmond last weekend was disgraceful, particularly given we were sending club stalwart Kane Cornes off after 300 games. Unlike some of our earlier losses this season Port never ever looked to be in the game. The Tigers had it all over us from the first bounce and at no stage did the Power even look like we were going to win. It was sloppy, indecisive football punctuated by kicks out on the full, kicks to opposition players and a total lack of options. Cornes was valiant and Gray tried hard, but we were like a Rolls Royce with a dead engine and no GPS.
God I wanted to smack the smile off that smug prick Riewoldt’s face.
On the day we were beaten by a team that played better and wanted it more, but we weren’t beaten by a better team. Port Adelaide are still the same side that fell short in a prelim by only three points last year, we’re still the same side that put on 60 points in a quarter against last year’s grand final winners, still the same side that can play exciting, dynamic and most importantly, winning, footy. This Port team is an incredibly talented team. We just need to step up and show that and I don’t know why we seemingly can’t.
I was at my best friend’s house watching the game with her family and to be honest, I was dying to leave with about 10 minutes to go but we hadn’t eaten our dessert yet. And I didn’t want to act like too much of a petulant child. And the dessert was lemon meringue pie, so… I stuck it out. I won’t lie, it really, really, really hurt. How dare they let someone like Cornes, someone who has given us so much for so long, go off with that type of insipid performance? I’m not sure why we couldn’t dig deep enough to show him the respect he deserved.
I was pretty flat that night and through the next day. Then I saw the above picture on social media and it kind of jolted me back to reality. Because it’s true, we’re only a short way into a long season. While we may not look like immediate premiers, we still have 14 rounds in which to prove ourselves.
It’s not over and we’re not done, not by a long shot. So let’s do this.
And thanks for the memories Kane. As Kenny said, “Kane Cornes is Port Adelaide.” Go well mate.