THIS week’s WATN looks at a surf-loving fireman who was once heckled by club great Paul Northeast when the pair faced off in a game on Yorke Peninsula.

Jared Poulton was a rugged defender who grew up a Port Adelaide supporter, and played with the club as a junior before going on to play 88 AFL games in a Power Guernsey between 1999 and 2005.

He was also part of the 1999 SANFL Premiership team – Port Adelaide’s most recent SANFL flag.

Fittingly Poulton is perhaps best remembered for his goal after the siren to beat Sydney at the SCG in round 15, 2002, so we thought it would be ideal to catch up with him ahead of the sides meeting at the venue this week.

That day, he came off the interchange bench with 40 seconds to play and his side leading by two points, only to see Barry Hall score what seemed to be a match-winning goal with 27 seconds to play.

But captain Matthew Primus had other ideas and after thumping the ball forward from the restart, it was picked up by Jarrad Schofield, who chipped it inside 50 to Poulton, who was backing off and marked about 40 metres out, almost directly in front.

He lined up after the siren sounded and kicked truly from 50 to the boos of the crowd, before being swamped by his teammates as they celebrated a two-point victory.

“It was definitely an emotional time for me because I had lost a mate the week before in a crash so it sticks in my mind as one of the better moments of my career, that’s for sure.”“I don’t have to talk it up, just about anyone who knows Port Adelaide brings it up when they see me,” Poulton said.

Missing the 2004 Grand Final

Poulton suffered a hamstring injury midway through the 2004 season and trying to force his way back into the side ended up making the injury worse, forcing him to sit out what would be the club’s historic first AFL Premiership.

But he still feels a big part of that success.

“It was hard to be at the game but it was also exciting to be around everyone on such a big day and you spend a lot of time with the guys who did play and they’re all your mates so it was still a good memory to have,” he recalled.

“The whole list got keys to the city and a miniature premiership cup but you don’t get a Premiership medal which is probably the most significant one that you want.

“We’d been around the mark for a few years so it was a relief to probably finally live up to the expectation and as time goes on you realise it doesn’t happen very often but at the time you probably don’t appreciate the significance and you should probably enjoy it more than you do.”

Retirement and staying involved in footy

Poulton finished his AFL career in 2005 after managing just one game but played with the SANFL Magpies in 2006 and 2007.

Hip degeneration meant he was advised to stop playing football, but he continued on the Yorke Peninsula with the CMS Crows.

I probably copped the most abuse from one of my old teammates in Paul Northeast when he was a coach out at Moonta I think it was at the time.

“I remember him being on the sidelines trying to rip me a new one but the rest of the teams I would hear a few words from but mostly it was good fun and people were pretty respectful.”

Poulton also helped Mark Clayton coach the Port Adelaide under 18 side for a year and has helped with the Southern Eagles on Yorke Peninsula at times but hasn’t been able to commit this year, other than watching his sons Koby, 14 and Jonny, 10 play there.

Country lifestyle

Now living at Corny Point with the boys and his country singer wife Amber, the 40-year-old works as a firefighter with the MFS out of Adelaide and still volunteers with the North Haven Surf Lifesaving Club in summer.

He spends three days working before having five days off back on Yorke Peninsula.

“We moved to Corny Point to be closer to the surf and every five days off, if conditions are good, I’ll have a surf every day and if they’re not I’ll probably only surf once in those days.

“It’s the main reason we live there to enjoy life with some surfing and fishing.”

Poulton admitted he doesn’t get to many Power or Magpies games because of his travel but said he tried to watch the sides play on television at every opportunity.

“I’ll always be a Port boy,” he said.

“Once you’re there, you’re there, that’ll never change.”

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