Football is almost always about timing.

And if there's one positive from the infamous "Ramsgate" brawl it was the year - 2002.

Because former Crows football boss John Reid shudders to think what would happen if such a brawl between Power and Crows players broke out now - in 2021, an era saturated by mobile phone footage on social media.

"I'm just glad it didn't happen in the current times … it would have been even bigger," Reid told The Advertiser.

"At the time it happened and it was over, there was plenty of talk about it but it wasn't like it was the third World War.

"But it does indicate and I think it gives you an idea that it is a genuine rivalry, there is nothing manufactured about it."


Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >

Josh Carr pictured at the Ramsgate Hotel in 2021.
Josh Carr pictured at the Ramsgate Hotel in 2021.

To understand why Crows and Power players decided to throw down on that Sunday night at the Henley Beach watering hole, a day after the April 27th Showdown, you have to consider a number of factors at play.

Port Adelaide had won the past four Showdowns and was beginning to claim it had the wood on its cross-town rivals.

"Port were beating us badly and we were sick of it," former Crows captain Mark Ricciuto told the Crows Show in 2017.

As the two teams locked horns, so, too, did Josh Carr and Ricciuto.

The match was tight and the Port Adelaide tagger's ability to restrict the Crows champion to six kicks and eight handballs was a significant factor in the Power's eight-point win.

It didn't sit well with the Crows or Ricciuto and when they were out the following night celebrating Simon Goodwin's 100th game and came face-to-face with Port contingent, who were also drinking, it wasn't surprising that tempers flared.

"I think it was just sparked that Roo and Carr were there," Reid said.

"There was always a battle on field and they just happened to be in the same place and there was a battle off-field," Reid said.

"And their players supported them and they ended up in … I'll call it a melee more than a fight."



Mark Ricciuto and Josh Carr go at it on the field during the Round 5 Showdown in 2002.
Mark Ricciuto and Josh Carr go at it on the field during the Round 5 Showdown in 2002.


At the Ramsgate that night, in addition to waring groups of AFL players, were a bunch of budding Australian cricketers housed at the Australian Institute of Sport's Del Monte facility at Henley Beach.

One of those cricketers who witnessed the brawl was Australian One Day and T20 representative and Tasmanian pace bowler Brett Geeves.

Reid may say it was a "melee". Geeves says it was "one of the most outrageous pub fights" that he had ever seen.

"We had been to the Showdown the night before and it was the usual Showdown of the era full of spite and yeah one of the teams were there first, it may have been Port Adelaide having a beer and some of the Adelaide guys started to roll through," he said.

"And it just started to kick off, you could sense as that second team came through there was a real tension in the air and it just turned into one of the most outrageous pub fights that I have ever seen.

"When you have powerhouse athletes going at it, it was a pretty impressive display."

Former Australian limited-overs quick Brett Geeves was at the pub that night.
Former Australian limited-overs quick Brett Geeves was at the pub that night.

The first wind the Adelaide public got of just what had happened was when an anonymous caller rang a radio station saying it was "on for young and old" with at least 10 members of each team "throwing punches, there were blokes being thrown on cars".

Geeves said that was the case.

"It was on," he said.

"There were more punches than you have ever seen, people being thrown over cars.

"It was proper, it was a ridge didge 20-man brawl."



Last year Kane Cornes told the AFL's website that his brother Chad and some of his Power teammates were talking to Adelaide midfielder Kane Johnson - who Chad knew from his time at Glenelg.

Ricciuto was said to have come over and joined the conversation and it "was reasonably friendly and there was some banter".

Eventually it escalated to Ricciuto asking Carr if he would join him outside the establishment "to have a chat".

"Yeah Roo wanted to talk to me outside so I thought. 'what's this about'," Carr said on the Crows Show in 2017.

"He didn't like probably some of the things I said to him on game day, I was just a young buck trying to find my way and it didn't really matter who it was I had a fair bit to say."

Interestingly, in 2012 it emerged that Carr had been punched in the brawl but not by Ricciuto - it was by Goodwin.

Geeves said his memory of the brawl was of Ricciuto flinging Carr into a pole outside the hotel.

"I just remember his physique was just like nothing that I have ever seen," Geeves said.

"We were skinny 18-year-old kids who thought that we were professional athletes and here was this guy that was as ripped and big as anyone I've ever seen.

"And he was doing some damage, from memory him and Josh Carr ended up outside and he flung Carr into a pole and it was nasty.

"We were fearful that someone was going to be properly hurt.

"Honestly the pace in which he hit this pole after Ricciuto threw him we thought he was dead, I thought he was goneski."

Geeves was stunned at the size of Mark Ricciuto, second from the right, in 2002.
Geeves was stunned at the size of Mark Ricciuto, second from the right, in 2002.


Amazingly, given it was 20 players brawling for about 30 minutes in a public area no player was suspended or even fined for the incident.

"It was remarkable and for the size of the fight and the amount of people involved and to be exclusively from the two footy teams we were expecting massive suspensions and fines to come from it but it was really well managed by both footy clubs," Geeves said.

In fact, Ricciuto told Triple M in 2017 that the club got a call from an irate fan for a particular reason following the brawl.

"One of the funniest things was we had a supporter ring up the club on the Monday or Tuesday after the blue," he said.

"They said, 'look I don't care that the captains leading the players astray, I don't care that we've lost the Showdown, but I've got a bloody Mercedes with a dent in the bonnet and all I want is it to be fixed'."

Reid said he was confident something similar wouldn't happen again in today's game.

"I'm very confident that behaviour wouldn't happen in the current climate, players are better versed at what is allowed off-field," he said.

"The AFL would have gone really hard against them and the clubs."

Originally published as 'One of the most outrageous pub fights that I have ever seen'

Students immerse in culture at Yallarm camp

Premium Content Students immerse in culture at Yallarm camp

Students got to build a raft on the Boyne River, participate in activities on...

GPC grows empire with new Bundaberg marine base

Premium Content GPC grows empire with new Bundaberg marine base

The new marine base is expected to provide a number of services including...