By ZAC MILBANK
Finally….the Woodville Football Club had won some silverware.
It might have only been a preseason premiership but for the Warriors faithful, winning the 1988 Escort Cup Grand Final meant so much more.
Without a League flag of any description since its inception in 1964, Woodville had been through plenty of pain and heartache during its 27-year stand-alone existence but this was different.
In front of a staggering crowd of 31,210 at Football Park, the Warriors beat its arch-rival from down the road, Port Adelaide, by a comfortable margin of 45 points.
It was akin to little brother finally landing a blow on big brother after years of torment in the Le Fevre Peninsula backyard.
And to make it all the more sweeter for the green-and-gold army, Magpies champion Russell Ebert was at the helm, having signed on to coach Woodville after departing Alberton at the end of 1987.
Captained by Ron Fuller – who would go on to coach Woodville-West Torrens to the 2006 premiership – the Warriors played an entertaining, yet comprehensive, brand of football under lights at West Lakes.
Scores were locked away at half-time before Ebert’s charges established a 24-point lead at the final change after holding the Magpies goalless during the premiership quarter.
With talented forwards John Klug and Haydn Stephens dominating the air with a series of eye-catching marks, they also converted on the scoreboard to boot three goals each for the Warriors.
At the other end, Port champion Scott Hodges could only manage his first major two minutes into the final quarter.
Magpie Roger Kerr – the father of West Coast premiership star Daniel Kerr and Matildas Captain Sam Kerr – was one of his team’s best but nothing could stop Woodville from reveling in its first and only senior premiership.
After finishing third in a memorable run to the 1986 Preliminary Final and losing the 1987 Escort Cup Grand Final in narrow fashion, the Warriors finally had something to place in their trophy cabinet.