By ZAC MILBANK
The 33-year wait is finally over for long-suffering Glenelg fans.
Having basked in the club’s drought-breaking 28-point premiership win against arch-rival Port Adelaide in the 2019 Statewide Super League Grand Final, Bays fans continued their party at the annual West End Chimney ceremony at Thebarton on Tuesday.
As the sounds of ”Tigerland” bellowed out inside the Brewery’s courtyard, the hungry Brighton Road faithful lapped up the festivities as premiership coach Mark Stone paid tribute to their unwavering resilience since last tasting the ultimate success in 1986.
Then MC Mark Soderstrom handed the microphones to Ken Farmer Medallist Liam McBean and effervescent defender Michael Virgin to pay tribute to their team-mates as they entered the stage.
Both players have remarkable stories to tell themselves, considering McBean played the title-decider with a snapped plantar fascia in his foot while Virgin was 12 months ago contemplating a SANFL comeback having spent a year with PHOS Camden after leaving North Adelaide.
After a quick photo of the 21 premiership heroes on stage, it was in the laneway where they revealed the black and gold colours back on top of the West End Chimney for just the fourth time following on from 1973, 1985 and 1986. The Tigers’ first premiership in 1934 was 20 years before the West End tradition began.
In a tradition dating back more than six decades, the colours of the winning SANFL premiership side are painted on top of the iconic landmark on Port Road.
Port Adelaide great Fos Williams played a significant role in establishing the annual ritual which began in 1954 when he coached the Magpies to a hard-fought three-point win against West Adelaide in the SANFL Grand Final at Adelaide Oval.
To recognise the Bloods’ gallant effort, Williams suggested that a red stripe be painted underneath Port’s black and white colours to acknowledge the runner-up.
As a result, the tradition of painting both Grand Final teams’ colours on the West End Chimney remains despite the Brewery changing location from Hindley Street to Port Road in 1982.
Standing around 25 metres high, the Chimney has been layered with more than 1200 litres of paint since the tradition began 65 years ago.