Port bringing back the bars after Pies relent in jumper fight

Port Adelaide president David Koch and Collingwood counterpart Jeff Browne have come to an agreement that will see the Power wear the prison-bar guernsey in 2023.

Port Adelaide has won the right to once again wear its historic prison-bar guernsey at AFL level.

After coming to an agreement with Collingwood, the Power will be able to wear the traditional black-and-white strip when they host Adelaide in the round 3 Showdown next month.

The agreement will just be for this year, but the Power will continue talks with the Magpies with a view to wearing the guernsey in every home Showdown.

Port Adelaide president David Koch said on Friday it would make the round 3 clash a special occasion.

“Ultimately, this magnificent black-and-white guernsey belongs to our people. It’s our people’s guernsey,” he said.

“Our community has been overwhelming in their desire for Port Adelaide to wear this guernsey again in the AFL.

“This outcome is for our loyal community made up of members, supporters, partners, staff, volunteers, players and past players.

“This is for the entire Port Adelaide family. If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that the fans are central to our game.

“Our fans have asked for this guernsey. They understand, more than any, the importance of heritage and tradition, and we are delighted to able to wear this guernsey again for our people.

“This guernsey has been the fabric of our club since 1902 and represents everyone who has made Port Adelaide the club it is today.

“And there is no better time to wear this guernsey than against our South Australian rivals. Our players will wear this heritage guernsey with great pride on the national stage to celebrate and honour the legacy of those who have come before us.”

The decision comes as former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire continues to claim that the Power signed a contract with the AFL that it would not use the design.

However, new president Jeff Browne agreed to the concession.

“While we own the stripes in the AFL competition, we acknowledge the history and origins of the Port Adelaide Football Club and their contribution to SA football over a long period of time,” he said.

Browne said the two clubs had worked productively on the issue.

“Since the formation of the Collingwood Football Club in 1892, we have worn black-and-white stripes. The Collingwood jumper is part of the fabric of our club and is one of the most iconic in Australian football,” he said.

“When Port Adelaide entered the AFL in 1997, a binding agreement was signed between the club and Collingwood, with Port giving up the black-and-white colours and the magpie emblem as part of their entrance into the national competition.

“As president of the club board, and following ongoing discussions with Port Adelaide president David Koch, it is our view that we acknowledge the history of Port Adelaide prior to their entry into the AFL and support them to wear their prison-bar guernsey in their upcoming home Showdown against the Crows in round 3.

“We face Port Adelaide in round 2 at the MCG and we urge both clubs’ supporter bases to attend, along with encouraging all SA-based Collingwood and Port Adelaide members and supporters to travel to Victoria for the match.”

Koch said he looked forward to continuing discussions with Browne and Magpies chief executive Craig Kelly about the possibility of wearing the prison bars guernseys in home Showdowns beyond this season.

“Collingwood president Jeff Browne and chief executive Craig Kelly have been outstanding to deal with during these discussions,” he said.

“There is a genuine sense of goodwill from Collingwood and an understanding that heritage is important to all clubs, not least of all Port Adelaide. We thank them for their collegiate approach.

“We look forward to continuing our positive discussions with Collingwood in regards to wearing our black-and-white prison bar guernsey again next year and beyond.”

Port Adelaide has worn the prison-bar jumper five times at AFL level and since 1902 in the SANFL.

The Power were able to wear the guernsey in the 2020 home Showdown as part of the club’s 150th anniversary.

Following that, the club proposed that the players should be able to wear the prison-bar guernsey in all home matches against Adelaide. However, the matter descended into a he-said, she-said argument over who should be allowed to wear the black-and-white jumper.

Past and present Port Adelaide officials denied the club had ever signed such a contract.

In 2021, when the AFL banned the Power from donning the jumper, Port Adelaide then changed into the prison-bar guernsey for its team song after beating the Crows in the Showdown.

Last year, it was revealed that Collingwood would be prepared to allow the Power to don an alternative prison-bar guernsey in Showdowns from 2023 – so long as it featured teal panels rather than white.

The two clubs will put on buses from Adelaide to Melbourne for the round 2 clash with hopes of a big crowd at the MCG.

Originally published as AFL 2023: Port Adelaide will wear its historic prison-bar after coming to an agreement with Collingwood

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