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'Lethal' Leigh Matthews

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Magpies malaise

By David Sutherland

MAGPIES are involved in four of the five Moments we’re featuring this week. And although the incidents are certainly memorable, they couldn’t exactly be called highlights for either the Collingwood or Port Adelaide football clubs.

The first incident involving Collingwood occurred straight after World War 1 and caused bitter disappointment for both club and fans.

Everyone involved with Collingwood had been looking forward to the return of captain and inspiration Dan Minogue from the battlefields of Europe. But Minogue, unhappy with the way the club had treated a former teammate, decided to play for the Tigers instead.

The Pies didn’t want to clear him, but their hand was forced by an edict from the VFL. Minogue went to Richmond and led them to two flags.

The other Collingwood-related Moment also tells the story of the Pies having something precious slip from their grasp in spite of their best efforts. In 1980 they lost (yet another) grand final, this one at night, and only because the umpires didn’t hear the siren.

The Pies were three points up and Malcolm Blight was streaming forward with the ball when the siren sounded, but the crowd was making such a din that the umpires didn’t hear it. Play continued, Blight kicked to Kerry Good, and Good kicked a goal to win the game.

The history of the Port Adelaide Magpies is littered with triumphs, but our Moments tell of two darker incidents. The first was when Port applied to join the AFL in 1990 and were rejected in favour of a composite side (although they were admitted to the League seven years later).

And in 1982, Port Adelaide was involved in one of the most controversial games in the history of the SANFL.

It was the preliminary final against arch rival Glenelg, and Port Adelaide player David Granger – nicknamed Grave Danger - embarked on a one man mission to take out as many Glenelg players as he could. Bones were broken, players left the field bleeding – but Port still lost.

Speaking of blood, the only Moment not involving Magpies also relates to the spilling of the red stuff. Who could forget the Leigh Matthews – Neviile Bruns incident, when Lethal king hit Bruns behind play and sparked an all in brawl.

Bruns had his jaw broken, and Steven Hocking broke Matthews’ nose as payback. Matthews was escorted from the field covered in blood, and although he escaped being reported, he was deregistered for four weeks by the VFL for conduct unbecoming a VFL player.

Police also pressed charges, and Matthews was convicted of assault.

Click here to cast your vote for your favourite moment from this week.