“It took a bloody long time, but by geez it’s worth it.” – Russell Ebert
LIFE was tough if you were a Port Adelaide supporter in 1977.
You hadn’t seen a Port Adelaide premiership for 12 years.
The Magpies last took the silverware in 1965 – back then Geof Motley was captain and Fos Williams was the coach of Port Adelaide.
The Sturt premiership dynasty started in 1966 and rolled on with flags right up until 1970.
North Adelaide enjoyed some success in 1971 and 1972 before Glenelg, Norwood and Sturt shared the spoils of the next four years.
During that time there was no Port Adelaide success. The drought was long, indeed one of the longest in the club’s rich history.
It contained six grand finals failures.
The Magpies lost the 1976 grand final and learned some hard lessons in football from it.
Coach John Cahill would later say he lacked the hardness required of a premiership coach that year, the match-ups weren't quite right, the desire of the players lesser than their Double Blue rivals.
When another title tilt came along in 1977, the values of those lessons could be put to the test.
Playing against the Tigers, Port Adelaide was determined to make amends.
It was a physical affair and undoubtedly one of history’s best SANFL Grand Finals.
Port’s Kim Kinnear was knocked unconscious in the first five minutes by Graham Cornes, Tim Evans put to ground by the Bays’ Fred Phillis, Darrell Cahill had a corked thigh and Ivan Eckermann suffered a quad injury.
With just 17 players on the field and wounded soldiers right across it, the odds were against Port.
But they managed to hold strong.
Evans would kick seven goals up forward along with Eckermann booting three on one leg; while Russell Ebert, Bruce Light and Brian Cunningham would lead Port to victory.
The euphoria of that win would set up subsequent flags in 1979, 1980 and 1981 and lay the building blocks for the dynasty of Magpie premierships during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s
Tomorrow, we'll countdown the final three moments of our Footy Park Flashbacks on the AAMI Stadium superscreen starting at 3:40pm.
Other Footy Park Flashbacks
#5 Round 5, 2013: Port Adelaide def West Coast Eagles
#6 Round 22, 2002: Port Adelaide def Brisbane Lions
#7 Grand Final, 1994: Port Adelaide def Woodville-West Torrens
#8 Round 8, 2012: Port Adelaide def North Melbourne
#9 Grand Final, 1990: Port Adelaide def Glenelg
#10 Round 3, 1997: Port Adelaide def Geelong
#10-#20 Footy Park Flashbacks bottom ten
PORT ADELAIDE 4.3 9.7 13.9 17.11 (113)
GLENELG 5.2 8.3 12.6 16.9 (105)
Goals: T. Evans 7, I. Eckermann 3, D. Granger, B. Cunningham 2, M. James, Blethyn, Sorrell
Best: Cunningham, Ebert, Gerlach, Light, Evans
Captain: R. Ebert
Coach: J. Cahill
Crowd: 56,717 at Football Park