Port Adelaide president David Koch has gone nuclear after his club was once again denied the opportunity to wear the famous prison bars.
Koch let rip after it was revealed the club’s request to wear the prison bar Guernsey’s for the round 23 showdown against Adelaide had been denied.
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The Power were famously denied the chance to wear their black and white stripes in 2021, and warned they could be stripped competition points if they went against the AFL’s wishes.
Instead they produced an act of elite-level trolling in the dressing rooms after the game when the club changed their jumpers to the club’s controversial black and white stripes Guernsey.
The heritage jumper has been at the center of one of football’s most petty feuds and it’s back in the limelight after Koch’s latest spray as he shut down suggestions the club was advised back in March their request would be denied.
“That is the greatest load of rot I’ve ever heard,” Koch said on FIVEaa radio.
“In fact, two weeks ago the Collingwood president Jeff Browne rang me out of the blue and said: ‘Kochie look mate, we’re taking your request really seriously, we understand how important it is to your members, we understand the history of it … I’ve been canvassing opinions both in Melbourne and South Australia and I’m putting it to my board (last week) and I don’t want to get your hopes up, but I’m quietly confident we could have good news for you.’
“So that was just two weeks ago the president of the Collingwood Football Club rang me out of the blue and told me this.”
Koch said they had been taken advantage of by Collingwood as the ugly saga drags over into another season.
“Remember Collingwood have always said: ‘We own black and white in the AFL/VFL. They are our colours’ – as if you can own two colours. Don’t get me started on that,” he said.
“On the weekend, Collingwood VFL played the Southport Sharks in the VFL who are black and white. So why can’t we play in our traditional prison bar guernsey, Showdown in Adelaide, that’s all. Not against Collingwood. Not for the rest of the year. I don’t think it’s unreasonable.
“I can’t help but feel that we’ve been played in this for being nice and a bit mislead by the club and also conversations I’ve had with the president.
“It just shows, dare I say, the pettiness of this which has got completely out of hand. I don’t know whether it’s a case of the big Victorian clubs once again going: ‘Hey, you just keep in your place you interstates, South Australian clubs. We run this competition, you do as we say.’”
Port Adelaide entered the AFL in 1997 with an agreement in place the prison bars could only be worn during heritage round. The league no longer has a dedicated heritage round with clubs holding their own celebrations each year.
“Yes, an agreement was signed when we came into the AFL – that’s 30 years ago. Times have changed and clubs are celebrating their heritage,” Koch said.
“Why can’t we declare a Showdown as celebrating our heritage?
“I’m fuming because we have done the right thing, we’ve just quietly gone about it, and I can’t help feel as though that good nature has been played.
“You look at virtually every AFL club being allowed to play in their heritage guernsey this year … but we’re not allowed to do the same.”