July 04, 2012
AFL clubs Adelaide and Port Adelaide have defended using the scene of a drunken bar-room brawl between players to promote Saturday's match.
A decade ago, Crows captain Mark Ricciuto and Port stalwart Josh Carr infamously fought at a pub as on-field bitterness hit an off-field flashpoint.
As many as 20 other players from both clubs were also involved in the 15-minute fracas outside the beachside Ramsgate Hotel.
Carr, now a Power assistant coach, returned to the pub on Wednesday for a media conference to promote Saturday night's on-field showdown between the South Australian rivals.
Both Carr and Crows assistant Mark Bickley rejected suggestions glorifying the bar-room stoush was inappropriate.
"It was just one of those things that happened," Carr told reporters.
Bickley, who in the next meeting of the clubs broke the jaw of Port player Darryl Wakelin and was suspended for five games, also cautioned against taking the promotion too seriously.
"It's footy folklore," Bickley told reporters.
"I'm okay with it - enough time has gone by now that we can look back on it and have a bit of a chuckle."
Port had defeated the Crows the previous night in 2002 when players coincidentally found themselves at the hotel.
"There was a lot players here and it was later in the night, so our memories of that occasion were a little bit blurry," Carr recalled.
"We had been drinking ... things did get out of control a bit."
Verbal abuse between Carr and Ricciuto, who were fierce on-field opponents, escalated.
"We went outside and we had a bit of a chat and that chat turned into bigger things," Carr said.
"Between myself and Roo, it was probably more a bit of a wrestle than anything ... there was actually no punches thrown.
"I did cop one from one of his teammates and that went in the memory box for the next few showdowns."
While Carr maintains punches were rare, witnesses reported plenty with two hotel staff hit while trying to halt the fighting.
"Now as a 32-year-old, if I was in the same situation, it wouldn't happen," Carr said.
"We weren't proud of what happened but now, myself and Roo can definitely look back and have a laugh."