As I sat in the outer at Adelaide Oval last Saturday, I witnessed a remarkable Port Adelaide victory over St Kilda.
The Patrick Ryder and Robbie Gray brilliance in the dying seconds provided an exhilarating finish to a game that really was a dreadful spectacle for the most part.
While those at the ground celebrated and I had complete strangers hugging me with enthusiasm as the final siren went, it was apparent some of the initial crowd of 30,335 had missed the finale.
Not only did the television coverage show streams of Port fans leaving late in the last quarter, it was quite the topic on social media after the match, with those who left before the final siren ridiculed for their decision to leave.
No one really knows exactly how many made an early exit. Some claim it was a minority of the crowd, while some observations on Twitter would have you believe there were only three people left to witness Gray kick the match winner.
Regardless of where the truth lies, it re-ignited the debate about supporters leaving early and whether this is acceptable practice or simply the actions of fair-weather fans.
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Really, it is a matter of individual choice and if someone pays for a ticket then they have the right to dictate at what point they leave. People have different levels of interest in the game and emotional attachment to the team they support.
Some at the game on Saturday obviously decided they were not enjoying what was transpiring and their time was best spent elsewhere.
Some patrons may have had a legitimate reason for leaving early and while it may not necessarily be the best look to see people heading to the exits before the game is finished, it will continue to happen unless some type of stadium lockdown is implemented.
While some opposition supporters like to take a high-and-mighty approach – the club they support would never have fans do such a thing and they would never abandon their team during a game – it is simply not reality.
Supporter groups are made up of a diverse range of people, which includes a section who will happily bail when they are not content with on-field performance.
Many who left early last Saturday will obviously regret the decision because they have missed out on an extraordinary finish. It may change their mindset and from now on they will be firm believers that it really isn’t over until the final siren.
Many others, however, would probably make the same decision again, especially when you have sat in the rain for over two hours watching your team perform poorly.
While I was certainly glad I remained to witness such a memorable ending, I don’t subscribe to the theory that every supporter who turns up to a game has a duty of care to remain.
Many would have left early, thinking after such a poor game to that point they had not got value for money. I probably would have agreed had I not stayed for the last minute.