Who cares? Let Port Adelaide wear the prison bars

Port Adelaide wearing Prison bar guernseys
Port Adelaide has been threatened by the AFL that it will be deducted four premierships points should the club wear its traditional prison bar guernsey in the Showdown. Photo: Port Adelaide

Honestly, I never really understood the whole debacle of Port Adelaide wearing their prison bar guernsey. This is coming from myself; who is one of the most self-declared passionate Collingwood fans I know.

So it’s even harder to understand why the AFL is threatening the deduction of four premiership points to Port if they wear their prison bars in the Showdown. To me, it’s showing a bias to Collingwood, that right now, this club does not need.

Purely for clash reasons, as long as Port Adelaide agree to not wear the prison bars against Collingwood, there’s no reason why they can’t wear them; especially during significant rounds or the Showdown matches. Port is being very reasonable; pleading to only wear the prison bars a couple of times each year.

The AFL allowed Collingwood and Essendon to wear guernseys majority black in colour on Anzac Day this year. Despite the Bombers wearing their white shorts, it still caused for a shocking viewing. Comparing Collingwood and Port’s situation, having two sides wearing black and white stripes would be horrendous. So fight all you like Collingwood for Port to sport their teal on the one day of the year the sides come up against each other.

Wait… you do not have to fight on this because the AFL are on your side with this one and will ensure there is no clash of guernseys on these game days.

On Wednesday night, former Port Adelaide player Kane Cornes revealed on Footy Classified a document signed by former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire back in 2007.

Signed by McGuire, then-Port Adelaide President Greg Boulton and AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, who was in charge of the league’s commercial and broadcasting at the time, it stated:

“Port Adelaide Football Club has the option to wear a black and white stripe Heritage Guernsey for all AFL Heritage Round games allocated as Port Adelaide home games only.”

“The exception is a home game against Collingwood.”

Heritage Round was cancelled only one year later by the AFL, which essentially left the agreement voided. Tell me Eddie, what is the difference between allowing Port to wear the guernsey once in Heritage Round, but not one – maybe twice depending on the fixture – in the Showdown?


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McGuire’s response to the revealed report was that he does not understand why there is no respect being shown toward Collingwood fans who, he believes do not want Port Adelaide to wear the prison bars.

Cornes suggested, which I personally think Collingwood fans will agree with more, that they aren’t particularly bothered by the guernsey.

“For Collingwood fans, this is a minor issue for them,” Cornes said.

“I don’t think they’re losing sleep over a game that’s not on national TV, it’s a long way away.”

Newly appointed Collingwood President Mark Korda has followed in McGuire’s footsteps, declaring there is only room for one black and white team.

“There is a place for only one black and white striped jumper in the AFL, the iconic Collingwood jumper,” Korda said.

“In the spirit of AFL collegiality and in recognition of Port Adelaide’s rich South Australian history Collingwood supported the AFL’s decision to allow Port Adelaide to wear a black and white striped jumper in 2020, Port Adelaide’s 150th year.

“We are surprised and disappointed that there is a renewed attempt to introduce the jumper to the competition on a permanent basis, particularly given what we believe to be an agreement that was reached between the two clubs a number of years ago.”

Collingwood supporters have had no official say as to what their thoughts are of Port Adelaide wearing the prison bars. So how do both McGuire and Korda believe they know how the fans feel about the prison bars?

In a season that is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, in a season where we can celebrate sides in the top eight that we haven’t seen before, and in a season where Collingwood have more things to worry about like their performance on field, I think the prison bars are the least of their concerns.

Sign a document that says Port can wear the guernsey on Showdowns and not against Collingwood and move on. Simple.

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