Drought must break for starving Port/Dees fans
Dees and Power have the weight of two starved fan bases on their shoulders
in looming pulsating prelims
September 19th, 1964 and September 25th, 2004 are two dates in the timelines of the
Melbourne Demons and Port Adelaide that most supporters have clung onto for far too long as the 2021 AFL season nears its conclusion.
While Dees fans have had to endure a dry spell that has spanned half a century, many
Power fans will clearly recite one of the most poignant stanzas of Tim Lane’s commentary
on that sunny Saturday afternoon nearly 18 years ago.
“They are the winningest team in Australia. The old Port Adelaide have won 36 [SANFL]
premierships. Today at the MCG may just be their finest hour”, Lane feverishly stated.
Despite the disparity in Premiership droughts which separate both sets of fans, there’s no
doubt both sections of supporters have been made to endure intense frustrations and
numbing heartbreaks over the years.
As well as a catalogue of false promises and bridesmaid finishes, both Dees and Port fans
were severely tested when tragedies unfolded which claimed the lives of a Melbourne club legend and Power fan-favourite.
Port midfielder John McCarthy was tragically killed in an accident in Las Vegas back in 2012.
Just months earlier in that same year, one of the most accomplished players in Melbourne’s modern history, Irishman Jim Stynes succumbed to melanoma which gradually progressed into brain metastasis.
Stynes was the President of Melbourne at the time of his diagnosis.
It’s abundantly clear that as this weekend’s semi-finals edge closer, both Melbourne and
Power fans feel that now is their time, but it can only be so for one fan base.
Firstly, both clubs must overcome their respective challengers.
The Dees lock horns with Geelong on Friday night in what is shaping up to be a classic
rematch after the frantic finish between both sides just weeks ago when in round 23, Max
Gawn sensationally booted the Demons in front after the final siren to break the Cats.
Port Adelaide awaits the visit of the seesawing Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night after the Dogs delivered the cruellest of sucker punches last weekend when they prevailed in a one-point win in Brisbane over the Lions.
Geelong will arrive in Perth on Friday evening with plenty of fire in the belly after the devastation of losing after the siren against the Dees last time out.
Chris Scott’s troops will be boosted by the inclusions of Zach Guthrie but will have to make do without Brandan Parfitt who sustained an injury in the semi-finals.
Michael Hibberd will replenish the Dees’ stocks after being called upon to replace Joel
While Geelong will unquestionably bring the pressure, the fact Melbourne has enjoyed
such a scintillating season and will travel to the neutral Optus Stadium as the more rested side, this should be an occasion that once again sees the Dees prevail.
The Power, meanwhile, will enjoy the massively advantageous proposition of being hosts on Saturday night.
While the Dogs showed tremendous grit to silence a highly-strung Lions home supporter
base last weekend in the dying embers of the clash, one could conclude that 2016
Premiers ‘played their final already’ and that there’ll be no Power outage at Adelaide Oval.
Both sets of fans undoubtedly feel they are tantalisingly close to embracing the holy grail of the AFL and that may well still be the case come to the conclusion of this weekend’s action.
However, perhaps fascinatingly so, incomprehensible heartbreak awaits one set of these
supporters when the curtains lift on the aptly named big dance, which the Dees and Cats
will get a taste of in the West a fortnight early.