THE 2020 Hampden league preliminary final was pencilled in this weekend. But with the coronavirus pandemic wiping out the entire season, The Standard has decided to take a walk down memory lane instead.
GLIMPSES throughout the game gave Port Fairy president Mick Finnigan hope the Seagulls had enough pluck to overcome a three-quarter-time deficit and advance to the 2005 Hampden league grand final.
The Brad Sholl-coached team did just that, kicking three unanswered goals to stun arch rival Koroit in front of a huge Reid Oval crowd which "broke the preliminary final record".
The Seagulls kicked 3.5 to the Saints' two behinds in the last quarter to edge home by two points.
Frankie Matthews finished with five goals in a team which featured former AFL footballer Ronnie Burns.
"It was very nerve-racking. I remember Murray Habel in the last quarter did a brilliant bit of football that a goal was created out of," Finnigan recalled this week.
"It really spurred the boys on and must have given them a bit of belief."
Finnigan, who had two stints as Port Fairy president, recalls the Seagulls' younger brigade standing up.
"It was going to be tough going in the last quarter, the boys all stuck to the plan and 'Sholly' led by example," he said. "They were pretty much in control but we always showed glimpses at getting back at them and once we got a run on in that last quarter (we had belief)."
Brad McCosh played on a half-back flank that day.
"They were up by a couple of goals at three-quarter-time and it was raining," he said.
"I just remembered thinking 'it's going to be hard from here'.
"Slowly but surely we crept our way back and got in front and held onto a couple of points lead for about 10 minutes."
Port Fairy, chasing just its second Hampden league flag, celebrated into the night.
"It was a big thrill. We had a bus and took it over that day," Finnigan said.
"It was a terrific win. We took the bus past Koroit on the way home and went to Kirkstall and had a couple of drinks on the way home.
"Tony Houlihan and the Kirkstall Pub were great sponsors of us and looked after us and then we had a night at Port Fairy and everyone was very happy but we didn't quite (finish it off) the following week (in the grand final)."
Port Fairy fell to Terang Mortlake in the grand final.
It had another chance to win a flag in 2017 but fell to Koroit.
The Seagulls' 1958 success remains its only Hampden league senior premiership.