Main content
We are Port Adelaide

Cornes and Primus reconnect at Noosa camp

CHAD CORNES has always looked up to Matthew Primus – not just because his former captain is six centimetres taller, but because of his work ethic, leadership and ability to inspire those around him.

So, it came as a surprise in 2011 when Primus – then coaching him at Port Adelaide – dropped him to the SANFL and barely gave him another game.

Previously good mates, they stopped talking to each other, Cornes left the Power for Greater Western Sydney and then Primus was moved on as well.

The pair, thankfully, reconnected a couple of years later and were again reunited in Noosa, where the Power is holding its pre-season camp.

“Matty took me under his wing when I was a young kid coming through,” Cornes recalled to portadelaidefc.com.au.

“In 1999 he took me and the young boys on overseas trips, showed me the meaning of hard work and what it meant to train hard, so I have always looked up to Matty.”

But the Power forward development coach admitted there was a time when things changed and their relationship was “frosty”.

With the passage of time the pair was able to sit together in Noosa and have a laugh about what happened all those years ago.

“Looking back at the time when I wasn’t getting a game when he was coach, you feel hard done by but you reflect as time goes on and I completely understand why he did what he did - I wasn’t playing well enough to deserve a spot,” Cornes admitted.

“It was frosty there for a couple of years but we caught up maybe in 2013 or 2014 over a couple of beers at Darryl Wakelin’s 40th and ever since then we’ve been back to being good friends.

“Things in footy happen, they happen and you move on and through no fault of Matty’s I deserved what happened back then and it’s great that we can talk about it and have a laugh.”

Cornes revealed he, coach Ken Hinkley and senior assistant Michael Voss had asked Primus to attend the Noosa camp to talk with the current playing and coaching group.

“As coaches we had a discussion about connections to the group and connections with a lot of past legends of the club,” he said.

“A lot gets said about our SANFL history but our AFL history is now 20 years old and I think it’s important to respect that as well.

“So, it just tied in well that Matty was up here and we were having a camp here so we rang to see if he would talk to the boys about his experiences, what made him such a good captain and such a good leader.”

For Primus, now an assistant coach at NEAFL side Southport after leaving Gold Coast in 2018, there were initially some nerves. Not because he was returning to the club which had sacked him in 2012 during its most difficult period in the AFL on and off the field, but because he does not like talking about his career.

He had the entire group glued to his every word during a one-hour presentation, a rarity for AFL talks according to Cornes.

But seeing familiar faces from his playing and coaching days including Cornes, Michael Wilson, Dean Brogan, Brett Montgomery and Jarrad Schofield, and seeing the Power logo again put him at ease.

“I’m not really a fan of talking about my career,” Primus said.

“It was about talking about what the club meant to me and leadership and those sorts of things.

“Because you stay involved in footy, you know I left Port Adelaide and worked with Gold Coast and it wasn’t until last night when I started putting down some notes that you started thinking about how much the club meant to you.

There’s a few of my ex-teammates, Chad’s been there for a while, there’s a few others as well, so it was great to be able to see their faces when I walked into the room and to spend a bit of time with them.”

Primus said he had stayed in contact with Cornes, Brogan and Montgomery and had contacted the others infrequently but it was like they picked up where they left off all those years ago.

The talk itself was just as inspiring as Primus was on the field in his playing days.

He talked about what leadership meant to him, how he tried to lead, and the challenge of trying to perform each week.

And he said he noted many similarities between the side he led to the club’s inaugural AFL premiership and the current group.

“We had our ups and downs as a footy club so I just tried to get through to the boys about a couple of things they’ve been through in the last couple of years with just missing out,” Primus said.

“It’s what I went through in my playing career and just (to tell them) how quickly it can turn around and how you try to turn it around.

“There is obviously a lot of young new faces but there is obviously a core group of guys who have been here for a while and there’s a group of guys they’ve brought in from other clubs – the same as they did when I was playing, they brought in five or six guys from other clubs to give them that push along.

“So, there are some synergies there and with a bit of luck and a bit of extra hard work who knows what could happen from last year.”

More on portadelaidefc.com.au...