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George Fiacchi: ‘Putting on a Port Adelaide guernsey made you feel superhuman’


JH: After 1990 you won a further four flags; did you have a favourite?

GF: Not really, but if I look back.

1992 we played Glenelg again, it was one of those games, we had a freak playing with us at the time – Nathan Buckley.

He was just unbelievable to watch.

My memories of him were watching how arrogant he was.

It was raining and there was an inch of water on the ground, and he bounced the ball and it’s come back out to him.

He just could do no wrong, he won the best and fairest, the Magarey Medal, the Jack Oatey Medal, and the premiership, he did everything.

He said that was his goal, we said he can have personal goals, but you make sure you win that premiership, because team is first and individual stuff comes second.

1994 was that special game when we got smashed in that first quarter, we lost by 70 points two weeks prior to the Eagles, and just that will to win, that typical Port Adelaide.

We worked hard and harder, the grunt, there was nothing special, we broke them.

The last quarter we smashed them, Scott Hodges had a field day and kicked five goals, but being in defence, the ball hardly come back there.

We were just running, it was one of those awesome team games where we just looked like certain losers and turned it around and had probably one of the greatest wins in the club’s history.

Then 1995 and 1996, they were good as well, against Central District – they were up and coming.

We were able to knock them over, but if I picked one, 1990 would be my favourite, then after the 1994 one, because that was a very special game.

JH: You represented South Australia once in your career, when was that and what was it like?

GF: I did, now you’re testing me.

I think it was 1991, we played WA over there, we got done.

It was nice to represent the state, but it was something that I was like, it’s great, I’ve done it now.

My focus was always Port Adelaide, that’s all I dreamt of doing.

Whilst it’s nice to represent your state, it was never a major goal of mine.

JH: Further down the track you were on the board at Port, what was it like being on the other side of the club?

GF: It’s different, it’s good to get involved.

I mentioned this at the Hall of Fame, when I retired, I moved away from football, I got into media.

I thought I’ve got to become focused on the next stage of my career, there’s no point in hanging around a football club and telling people how good you were…even though I keep doing it.

I only got back on the board because the club was in trouble, we got the one club thing happening.

I was concerned that the one club thing wasn’t being taken seriously and people didn’t realise how important it is for Port Adelaide, it’s members and supporters that the club was brought together and treat it with respect.

To be honest, I had no fear, David Koch and the board they’re all over the one club stuff, they understand how important it is.

Being on the board is hard work. I’m not sure if you’ve sat in a board room listening to Kochie ramble on for five hours and you can’t change the channels; that’s real hard work.

It was good to get on the other side of the business end, I had a business background, it was good to be able to contribute to the club.

The past six years I was on the board, we had some amazing success, the move from Football Park to Adelaide Oval, we got the license back from the SANFL, we’re in control of our own destiny which is important.

The decisions we make aren’t scuttled by anyone else.

The only thing that really disappoints me is that we haven’t had the footy success that we probably deserve.

We’ve been underperforming, but I’m confident that’s not too far away.

JH: You were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame; how did that feel?

GF: It was a bit surreal, I was going how the hell did this happen? How did I get here?

This little Italian kid from Rosewater wasn’t supposed to be playing football, he wasn’t supposed to play league football for Port Adelaide, and certainly not in seven premierships, and now the Hall of Fame.

I’m still pinching myself now, I’m very flattered, I’m very honoured.

I don’t take it lightly, it’s something my kids are very proud of as well.

It’s one of the ultimate things you can achieve as a footballer.

JH: Anything else you’d like to add, George?

GF: For the supporters, we’re at a dicey time now.

There’s a bit of uncertainty around the place, I think we’ll look forward to the footy season getting underway.

I’m quietly comfortable we’re going to have a good year – if we can stay injury free, I can see some things happening.

I’m confident for the Maggies as well, I can see some changes there.

The game plan has changed now, we’re going to see some exciting footy with some high scores, which has been frustrating to watch from the other side, because we’ve just been playing this slow, ugly football.

But I think we’re going to see some real exciting stuff in 2019.

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Jack grew up in Gawler, South Australia – just 45 minutes north of Adelaide – and has a passion for all things football and soccer. Jack has worked in the media for more than four years, and hosts his own sports show on Barossa radio station BBBfm. He previously played football for Elizabeth, South Gawler, Gawler Central and at junior level with Central District, and is a die-hard Port Adelaide fan.