“FUMING” Port Adelaide club president David Koch believes Hayley’s request to wear the heritage prison bar jumper was “played” by Collingwood after he was beaten again by the Magpies.
Speaking on FIVEaa radio, Koch Porte said he had done the “right thing” and submitted his jumper request to the AFL for the Round 23 showdown in March.
When asked about the claims, the Magpies told Koch that his request to jump to Port was denied in March.
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“That’s the biggest rotten load I’ve ever heard,” Koch said.
“In fact, two weeks ago Collingwood president Jeff Brown called me out of the blue and said, ‘Look mate, we’re taking your request seriously, we understand how important it is to your members, we understand the story. It’s… I’ve been checking comments both in Melbourne and South Australia and I put it on my board (last week) and I don’t want to get your hopes up, but I’m sure we’ll have some good news for you guys.
“So it was only two weeks ago that the president of the Collingwood Football Club called me and told me this.”
Coke said the club had been taken advantage of by Collingwood as the force continued to debate whether he should be allowed to wear the heritage prison bar strip.
Remember Collingwood always said: ‘In the AFL/VFL we have black and white. They are our colors – as if you could own two colors. Don’t get me started on that,” he said.
“Over the weekend, Collingwood VFL played the Southport Sharks, the Black and Whites in the VFL. So why can’t we play at a traditional prison bar in Guernsey, a show in Adelaide, that’s all. Not with Collingwood. Not for the rest of the year. I don’t think it’s unreasonable.
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“I feel we played in this just because we were good and because of the manipulation by the club and the talks I had with the president.
“It shows, I would say, that the pettiness of this is completely out of control. I don’t know if it’s a case of the big Victorian clubs saying, ‘Hey, you interstates, South Australian clubs stay put. We run this race, you do as we say.
In the year When Port Adelaide entered the competition in 1997, it was agreed that the prison bar jumper would only be worn in the AFL heritage round.
But there is no longer a single round given by the AFL, with clubs choosing to hold their own heritage celebrations each year.
“Yes, a deal was signed when we came to the AFL – that was 30 years ago. Times have changed and clubs are celebrating their heritage,” said Koch.
“Why can’t we put on a show while celebrating our heritage?
“It’s because we did the right thing, we just talked about it, and I can’t help but feel like good nature was at play.
“This year you see every AFL club allowed to play in Heritage Guernsey … but we’re not allowed to do the same.”
Koch later said in a statement: “We have moved past these petty arguments and accept that this is one of those things where the time for change is now and we will grow the game, as a truly national competition that recognizes the rich heritage we all bring to the table.”
“We’re not asking to wear it every week, it’s for the Showdowns in Adelaide, to celebrate the heritage of Port Adelaide and South Australian football. It seems logical to promote the history of Australian football without harming any body.
“At a time when the No. 1 issue in the game is fan engagement and participation, it’s an easy fix.
“What we are asking is completely reasonable. To celebrate the heritage of Port Adelaide and South Australian football, wear our famous Prison Bar guernsey at the Showdowns. Not against Collingwood twice a year in Adelaide. I don’t see how it would negatively affect anyone.
Last year the Force defied the AFL’s decision to threaten to lose premiership points if they wore the prison bar jumper to the Showdown.
So the team left the playing field after the game and waited to be changed into the prison bar Guernsey.