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SANFL spirit is alive and well

Glenelg defeated Port Adelaide in Sunday’s SANFL grand final at Adelaide Oval, and the spirit of state football was alive and well.

Glenelg legend Graham Cornes celebrates the final moments of the Tigers’ premiership win over Port Adelaide. PHOTO: Kane Cornes – Twitter

As a Port Adelaide supporter, it’s hard not to write this through gritted teeth.

As a 24-year-old, I’ve grown up knowing the AFL as the top tier competition and the cream of the crop, while the SANFL as a simple state competition.

I’ve attended over 100 Power games, but around 10 Magpies games across the years.

Due to that, one thing I’ll never truly be able to appreciate is how passionate the SANFL fans were at their peak and how huge it once was.

Yet, upon donning the Magpies colours and simply walking down the shops early in the day, I was shown a taste of it through a stranger saying “go the Bays”.

Later at Adelaide Oval, I felt the hatred.

I was heckled, I was heckling. Yet, I was having fun, and so were the Glenelg fans.

For every goal that was kicked, there was at least one snappy remark from one fan in the bay.

The 2019 Glenelg Premiership side. PHOTO: Glenelg FC – Twitter.

It’s a spirit you don’t get with most AFL games in South Australia, and it’s a shame.

Despite that, no matter how hard I tried, I could never be as invested as any Glenelg fan on Sunday.

For the Tigers faithful, who had been starved of success for so long, it felt like life and death.

It meant a lot more than it would to me, as the peak for me is the AFL premiership.

Despite being a Port fan, it was infectious to see how happy the Glenelg fans were.

The Tigers nearly went out of business a few years ago, but after fixing their off-field administration, their on-field started to improve and seeing it capped off today was remarkable to watch.

The one video that grabbed my attention was Graham Cornes’ celebration.

Cornes was overjoyed at the final siren, and rightfully so.

His club had endured so much hell and overcame so much to again reach the peak of South Australian football.

Despite his disdain for Port Adelaide, it was amazing to watch his frustration and pain end as Glenelg ended its premiership drought.

For those who question the SANFL’s pulse at times, just look at the celebrations from the Glenelg supporters, and from Cornes.

It’s alive and well, and even as a Port supporter, the sooner the AFL gets a reserves competition, the better.

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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.