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Primus, Cornes inducted into South Australian Football Hall of Fame

FORMER Port Adelaide stalwarts Matthew Primus and Chad Cornes have been inducted into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame along with the club’s current forwards coach Tyson Edwards.

Primus and Cornes join 29 other Port Adelaide inductees in the Hall of Fame, which was celebrated at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday night.

They are the fourth and fifth ‘Power’-era players to receive recognition in the Hall of Fame.

Primus was the club’s second AFL captain and its third AFL coach after arriving at the club from Fitzroy via the uncontracted player selection period in the 1996 National Draft.

With 20 games under his belt with the Lions, Primus would go on to play 137 games for Port Adelaide in an injury-burdened career between 1997 and his retirement in 2005.

Regarded as a heart-and-soul warrior and one of the best tap ruckmen in AFL history, Primus would receive two All-Australian nods and win the 2002 John Cahill Medal as the Power’s best and fairest player.

From his retirement until 2010, Primus acted as an assistant to senior coach Mark Williams and maintained the caretaker coaching role of the club after the resignation of his mentor midway through the 2010 campaign.

He was appointed coach in his own right in 2011 and led the club through a difficult transitional period, before himself standing down as coach near the end of the 2012 season.

He now is an assistant to Guy McKenna at Gold Coast.

“Matthew was hugely influential as a player and a captain,” says Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas.

“The influence he had on the playing group to ensure they were as competitive as possible for that finals series in 2004 can’t be understated, and his work off-field preparing the team for that campaign is something many of that premiership recognise.

“He was completely selfless during that time and it epitomised his leadership.

“He achieved an enourmous amount, and should be revered for how he conducted himself throughout his career.


Captain courageous: Matthew Primus in action midway through his career with Port Adelaide

“As a coach, he was thrown the very difficult task of following Mark Williams for a caretaker period in 2010 - and had instant success.

“Unfortunately, it was his first role as a senior coach, and the club wasn’t able to provide him with the resources of a senior coach with a difficult, transitionary agenda.

“He fought manfully to make that work, and has been able to progress his career at the Gold Coast, and his best coaching years are undoubtedly ahead of him.”

Cornes was the Power’s enforcer over many seasons at Alberton after arriving at the club as its first-round selection (pick No. 9) in the 1997 National Draft.

He would play 239 games with Port Adelaide between his debut in 1999 and retirement in 2011, before making a one-season comeback for franchise club Greater Western Sydney in 2012.

Throughout his career with Port Adelaide, Cornes would carve a reputation as one of the toughest players in the Power’s arsenal.

Switching from attack to defence on the cusp of the club’s inaugural flag, he would finish third in the 2004 Brownlow Medal count and receive All-Australian selection in both of the Power’s grand final years of 2004 and 2007.

As vice-captain to Warren Tredrea, he would win notable single game honours, including the Showdown Medal in 2006, and the Peter Badcoe VC Medal in 2007.

A big game player, Cornes was one of the ultimate football dramatists – a player who loved to provoke his opponents on the field, and invoke the ire of opposition crowds.

“He was a warrior and you could tell he was a spiritual leader of the club during his time,” says Mr Thomas.

“Certainly, Chad is one of the most influential personalities to have walked these corridors and his pursuit of excellence set a standard for those who played with him.


Warrior: Chad Cornes epitomised the Port Adelaide 'enforcer' archetype like few others in the AFL

“Few players have the privilege of playing in an AFL premiership and certainly Chad was instrumental part of the team’s success in 2004.

“To now be imparting his knowledge and expertise to up-and-comers in the industry with the Giants is a credit to the football person he is.

“He leaves a legacy at Port Adelaide which will be long remembered.”

Despite both Primus and Cornes moving on to new opportunities in the AFL industry, Mr Thomas says both are fondly remembered at Alberton by players, staff and supporters alike.

“They are legends of the club who have contributed an enormous amount to football in this state,” Mr Thomas said.

“Matthew and Chad will always be welcome at Port Adelaide by all those who are involved currently and, especially, our members and supporters.

“Theirs is a lasting contribution to our club, and I’m sure they’ll have a lifelong association with the club.”

Current assistant forwards coach Tyson Edwards was also inducted into the hall of fame on the back of his 321-game career with the Adelaide Crows between 1995 and 2010.

Edwards played in both of the Crows’ premiership teams and was runner up in Adelaide’s club champion award three times.

“He was very ‘Port Adelaide’ in the way he went about the game – professional, consistent, reliable – and he was highly regarded by Adelaide and the football community,” Mr Thomas said.

“Here as a coach, our players look up to him and love to learn from him – Tyson is an invaluable member of our current coaching panel.”

Chad Cornes career
255 AFL career games (Port Adelaide 239; GWS 16)
179 AFL career goals (Port Adelaide 175; GWS 4)
43 SANFL career games (Glenelg)
46 SANFL career goals (Glenelg)

Port Adelaide vice-captain (2006-2008)
Port Adelaide AFL Premiership player (2004)
Port Adelaide AFL Pre-season premiership player (2001,2002)
All-Australian (2004,2007)
AFL Rising Star nominee
Port Adelaide most improved player (2002)
Port Adelaide best finals player (2005)
Showdown Medallist (2006)
Peter Badcoe VC Medallist (2007)

Matthew Primus career
157 AFL career games (Port Adelaide 137; Fitzroy 20)
81 AFL career goals (Port Adelaide 76; Fitzroy 5)
39 SANFL career games (Norwood)
19 SANFL career goals (Norwood)

47 AFL games as senior coach (Port Adelaide)

Port Adelaide captain (2001-2005)
Port Adelaide AFL Pre-season premiership captain, player (2001,2002)
All-Australian (2001,2007)
John Cahill Medallist (2002), 2nd place (1997)
Best Team Man (2000,2001)

Port Adelaide’s South Australian Football Hall of Fame Inductees
1. John Abley - inaugural induction 2002
2. Dave Boyd - inaugural induction 2002
3. John Cahill - inaugural induction 2002
4. Leslie Dayman - inaugural induction 2002
5. Russell Ebert - inaugural induction 2002
6. Tim Evans - inaugural induction 2002
7. Neville Hayes - inaugural induction 2002
8. Ned Hender - inaugural induction 2002
9. Samson (Shine) Hosking - inaugural induction 2002
10. AR Bob McLean - inaugural induction 2002
11. Peter Mead - inaugural induction 2002
12. Geof Motley - inaugural induction 2002
13. W (Harold) Oliver - inaugural induction 2002
14. Greg Phillips - inaugural induction 2002
15. Jeff Potter - inaugural induction 2002
16. Robert B Quinn - inaugural induction 2002
17. Ted Whelan - inaugural induction 2002
18. Foster N Williams - inaugural induction 2002
19. Ray Huppatz – inducted 2003
20. Mark Williams - inducted 2003
21. W ‘Vic’ Johnson - inducted 2004
22. ARV (Bull) Reval - inducted 2004
23. Brian Cunningham - inducted 2005
24. Craig Bradley - inducted 2006
25. Bruce Abernethy - inducted 2007
26. Scott Hodges - inducted 2007
27. Peter Woite - inducted 2008
28. Josh Francou – inducted 2010
29. Warren Tredrea - inducted 2012
30. Gavin Wanganeen - inducted 2012
31. Andrew McLeod - inducted 2012
32. Don McSweeny - inducted 2012
33. Chad Cornes – inducted 2014
34. Matthew Primus – inducted 2014
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs