Eddie McGuire has issued a thinly veiled threat to Port Adelaide chairman David 'Kochie' Koch, following the latest chapter of the 'prison bars' jumper controversy.
Port sparked outrage over the weekend when they changed into the prison bars guernseys to sing the team song and pose for photos after Saturday night's Showdown win against city rivals, the Adelaide Crows.
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The AFL told the Power they were not allowed to wear the black and white striped jumper for the Showdown with the Crows because of its likeness to Collingwood's iconic guernsey.
The club’s back and white heritage jumper has been at the centre of one of football’s most petty feuds in recent weeks with Koch and former Collingwood president McGuire exchanging heated words in public.
Despite Port Adelaide lobbying the AFL to be allowed to wear the jumper during the club’s two annual grudge matches against the Crows, the league ultimately ruled the club was not allowed to wear its black and white strip this season, but was last year.
While there has been a public stoush between David Koch and Eddie McGuire over the disagreement, the post-match celebration was seen as a direct shot at McGuire and the AFL.
At halftime in Sunday's match between West Coast and Hawthorn, the Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph reported that the post-game prison bars jumper switch was a "player-led initiative” that the AFL had no problem with.
When asked for his thoughts on the controversy, McGuire took aim at Port Adelaide and Koch in particular, whom he warned was "playing with fire".
“All I’ll say is that the AFL may be saying nothing but that is a direct poke in the eye for Gillon McLaughlin and the AFL Commission," McGuire said.
“They’re playing with fire Port Adelaide on this now because they have signed an agreement that they would not manufacture any of those jumpers for merchandise, and as we’ve seen in the crowd, they’re starting to overplay their hand a little bit here.
"It’s moved out of Collingwood and Port Adelaide, now they’re taking on City Hall who give them $7 million a year more than the Collingwood Football Club.
“David Koch is sticking his nose into the AFL territory now - it‘s a big size nose, I hope he doesn’t get it broken.”
Port deny claims they disrespected the AFL
The stunt was jumped upon by AFL fans on social media, with many labelling it "disgraceful" and "embarrassing" and a slap in the face of the AFL.
However, Power coach Ken Hinkley denied the move was designed to send a signal to the AFL.
"No, it's a show of respect for our heritage for our past and for our great people that played in it, for our people who turn up .. and represent this footy club," Hinkley said.
"We started as Port Adelaide and we still are.
"And part of that journey is this amazing jumper which the boys love, the club loves and everyone that supports this footy club loves.
"We had to wait until after the game but we will recognise it as often as we have to."
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