1997–2010: Port Adelaide Magpies Football Club
Although for the next 10 years, the Port Adelaide in the AFL would enjoy success on and off the field, including a premiership, The Magpies struggled to find form on the field from 2000 onward. The Magpies won the 1998 and 1999 SANFL premierships but they failed to reach any Grand Finals after that.
The Magpies stopped winning Grand Finals and started to lose more games than they won. Around the start of the 21st century, it seemed to be a change of fortune for the Magpies and the Central Districts Bulldogs. The Magpies, who had been the most successful club in Australia, started to be the laughing stock of the state because they were being thrashed week-in, week-out, while Centrals were enjoying envied success, winning eight of the next ten SANFL premierships, and becoming the first team to appear in all of the Grand Finals in a decade.
Stephen Williams was appointed coach of the Port Adelaide Magpies Football Club when John Cahill stepped aside mid-season in 1996 to concentrate solely on his job as coach of the Port Adelaide Football Club that had joined the AFL. Williams guided the club to three more premierships (one in 1996 as the previous PAFC and two as the PAMFC) before announcing his resignation at the end of the 2003 season. The 2005 season saw club legend John Cahill return to coach the Magpies for a year, leading the club to finish in third position. Recruit Jeremy Clayton dominated the competition until rupturing his spleen in the qualifying final victory over the Eagles ended his season and meant that he had to watch from his hospital bed as he won the 2005 Magarey Medal. In 2006 Tim Ginever, who was Cahill’s assistant in 2005, took over the reins as senior coach and Mark Clayton as the new captain of the club.
At the end of the 2009 season, Tony Bamford took over the coaching role of the Magpie coach replacing Tim Ginever.
Since 2008, the Port Magpies have not reached the SANFL finals series. In 2009 and 2010, the team finished a disappointing 8th, and with financial difficulty, it looked like the Port Adelaide Football Club, in the SANFL and AFL, would be gone forever. But, in early 2011, the SANFL approved the Port Adelaide Football Club merger with both the Power and Magpies.
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