Yesterday, the Adelaide Crows announced to the football world that they will be wearing a replica South Australian state guernsey in the Round 2 Showdown against Port Adelaide.
This surprising and polarising move was described by the Crows as a tribute to South Australian football, which will coincide with the opening of the new Adelaide Oval.
Without much surprise, many Port Adelaide and general AFL supporters have labelled the decision as disrespectful, disappointing and distasteful, along with several other superlatives that I won’t mention on such a civilised website as The Roar.
I must agree with those people.
The state jumper is something that many South Australians identify with. It’s got our state colours on it, we’ve smashed the hell out of the Vics in it and before the Crows and Port entered the AFL, it unified our state.
It didn’t matter if you were a Norwood or a Port supporter; when the Croweaters played, everyone was on the same page.
Most of the South Australian players in the AFL have proudly worn the Piping Shrike in the under-18 national championships regardless of whether they went for the Crows, Port or the Scotch College First XVIII.
And therein lies the problem. The guernsey belongs to the state, not the Crows.
Along with the Crows’ narcissistic idiom of “The team for all South Australians”, they clearly believe that they have the right to wear a sacrosanct identifier of South Australia against a club that has done more for South Australian football than any other.
It’s in a way giving a giant ‘up yours’ to a 143-year-old club, which is as much rich in history as it is plentiful with silverware. It’s a thought process based on selfishness and entitlement and to be honest, I can’t believe it was approved by the AFL.
It’s like Carlton wearing the ‘Big V’ against Collingwood or the Broncos wearing the Queensland jersey against the Cowboys or Lorde attempting to dance. It just shouldn’t happen.
Before yesterday’s announcement, I was looking forward to the opening of the Adelaide Oval. It was going to be a memorable experience.
In many ways, it was going to show how progressive Adelaide is becoming and how maybe all the political BS that has divided sport in this state over the past 40 years was beginning to dissipate.
I can’t help but feel as though the Crows wearing the state guernsey will divide supporters, rather than unify them.
The Crows and Port were supposed to be on an equal playing field at the Oval. No bias, no resentment over Port’s supposed ‘betrayal’ in 1990. For all intents and purposes, it was to be a fresh start.
This announcement doesn’t aid in unification, instead showing that there is still an unhealthy Machiavellian mentality afoot in South Australian football.
It threatens to go against everything that this once promising change in the South Australian sporting landscape is supposed to be about, which gives credence to the notion that the South Australian guernsey should be left alone.