It might have been a pre-season cup but for
DARREN Grant and his jubilant Warriors’ teammates heard new coach Russell Ebert’s message loud and clear.
No beers. No Straight home to bed.
“So after the game, a few of us went back to the club at Woodville,” Grant laughs.
“We opened the doors to the function area and, mate, it was full. All the supporters had gone back there.
“Everyone saw us, so we thought ‘Shit, we’d better get out of here’ because Russell had said ‘No, we can’t celebrate’. So we got in our cars and went home.
“I just remember being awake until two or three in the morning. I couldn’t sleep. It was a feeling where you wanted to celebrate – but you couldn’t.”
This was the night the Warriors – now the other half of the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles partnership – were champions.
Thirty years ago, in April 1988, Woodville won the SANFL’s Escort Cup pre-season parties. 13 wins and a top-four finish culminated in a preliminary final and, finally, there was optimism at Woodville Oval.
Blight retired after a follow-up finals appearance in 1987 and, shortly after season’s end, the Warriors were preparing to announce they had secured celebrated West Australian coach John Todd.
But before Todd had even left Perth to sign with Woodville, he was headhunted by AFL club West Coast Eagles.
About the same time, Ebert was ousted as Port Adelaide coach, and was quickly identified as the solution to Woodville’s leadership void.
“It was a special group,” O’Dwyer says. “We had some
TRIUMPH: Woodville’s Scott Parsons takes a soaring mark over Port Adelaide’s Bruce Abernethy, above; Woodville players celebrate their Escort Cup win, top right; SANFL president Max Basheer with Woodville captain Ron Fuller and jubilant players, right; and Fuller with the Escort Cup trophy, below right.