After being told the club was not able to wear its famous heritage jumper twice a year in Showdown's, Port Adelaide changed into their famous jumper to sing the club song after their 49-point win over the Crows.
If there ever was a statement by a club or franchise that essentially told the entire league honchos where to go, then Port Adelaide’s decision to change into their prison bar jumper post Showdown to sing the club song was it.
As you can imagine the move was met with some who loved it (me included and even my father-in-law who supports the Crows) and others who utterly condemned it. Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of Port’s “statement” was that the AFL was fine with what the club did. No please explain from the club was needed and that speaks volumes.
Now I can not speak for every Port Adelaide fan but personally, it was fantastic. The fact that the whole club bought into the idea and that it was player-driven (Tom Jonas and other senior players) just shows how much it means to not only the fans but the players as well.
Skipper Tom Jonas spoke on The Sunday Footy Show and responded to the criticism of the players swapping jumpers post-game:
I think it was only a small statement for the significance of what the jumper means to our club and our people," Jonas said.
"We wanted to, as players, show them how important it is to us too. Disappointing not to be able to wear it during the game and I thought that was quite fitting."
Former Bomber legend Matthew Lloyd didn’t mind Port Adelaide’s actions after the game either:
"What's wrong if they do make it an up-yours, to say, 'You're not allowing us, AFL, to wear it on game day. We're not just going to lie down, we're going to make a statement after the game."
The fact that this situation is still going on is a little laughable, to be honest. It is not like the club is asking for it to be our primary jumper for the season. All they are asking is to where it in two games a year. Surely that is not an unreasonable request.
What Saturday night’s stunt does show us is that the club as a whole will not back down from this issue anytime soon and it almost feels like in the long term, it will be better for both Port Adelaide and the AFL to agree on something.
The funny thing to me is that we have hardly heard publicly from Collingwood on this issue, rather their ex-president in Eddie McGuire who now is no more than a glorified member of the club. Why he still has so much power over the AFL is bewildering to me and likely to many others as well.
The one thing I will say on this issue and echo Kane Cornes’ sentiment is that it is time to put it behind us now. We have made our statement, we put the prison bar jumper on post-game but now it is time to put that all on the back-burner and to focus on the huge challenge that the Western Bulldogs present them.
To see the entire playing group don the prison bar jumper to sing the song is probably the best Port Adelaide moment I have seen since the 2004 premiership win. You could see how much it mean to the players and doing it after brushing aside their bitter rivals just added the sugar on top of what was overall, a decent night for Ken Hinkley and his side.
To essentially give the middle finger to the AFL, Collingwood and Eddie McGuire has been seen as a risky move and has been met with backlash, but for me, it was worth it just to show that we as a club are not giving up on this anytime soon.