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Opinion

The Prison Bars: More than a jumper

A football jumper is something close to the heart of all football clubs. For Port Adelaide, one particular guernsey stands head and shoulders above the rest.

PHOTO: Port Adelaide FC – Twitter

The Prison Bar is one of Aussie Rules’ most famous guernseys, and arguably South Australia’s most famous.

Port Adelaide champion George Fiacchi loved wearing the guernsey for the first time and understood everything it meant to the club and its supporters.

“So, I believed as soon as you put on a Port Adelaide guernsey, you become superhuman,” he said.

“I put my first Port guernsey on, I looked in the mirror, I said oh no I’m in trouble here, I’m not superhuman.

PHOTO: Port Adelaide Football Club

“That was until I ran out onto the field, the supporters and all the expectation, that’s what makes you superhuman.”

However, the Prison Bar guernsey is in serious danger of disappearing from the field from a Port Adelaide point of view.

The guernsey is still worn by the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL, which is the Power’s reserves side.

The AFL could implement a national reserves competition in the coming years, which would almost certainly spell the end of the Prison Bar.

PHOTO: Port Adelaide Football Club.

It would certainly be a massive dagger to the hearts of Port traditionalists such as club legend Russell Ebert.

“We knew when we pulled on the Port jumper, we were representing the Port Adelaide people, and we were also playing against those who didn’t like Port Adelaide, which was a greater percentage, so both situations were motivating,” he said.

“Pulling on the Port jumper, there’s pressure with the expectation, the history, the success.

Right now, there’s a petition to ‘Bring Back the Bars‘ from 2020, which has been signed by over 8,000 people.

A group of supporters will also host a ‘Bring Back the Bars Night’ when the Power hosts Geelong on June 22.

While wearing it from 2020 may be unrealistic, pulling it on for the club’s 150th anniversary next year is a must – and the AFL must put its authority on it.

For Port Adelaide fans, the Prison Bar is more than just a jumper, it’s an identity, it’s an icon, it is a lifestyle.

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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.