Fremantle great Shaun McManus has recalled the bittersweet memories of the club’s most successful season in 2006.
Reuniting this week with former captain Peter Bell and teammates Matthew Carr and Troy Cook ahead of their club’s preliminary final against Sydney at Patersons Stadium tomorrow night, McManus said being forced to watch West Coast win the 2006 premiership, just a week after the Swans had bundled them out of the race for the flag, had been a tortuous experience.
The Dockers had beaten the Eagles in their two derby clashes that year and had been sitting among fans of their fiercest rivals in the stands at the MCG for the season’s biggest game.
“I distinctly remember at half-time, Ryan Crowley led a whole heap of blokes down to the TAB and pulled a couple of $15 winners out of his backside,” McManus said.
“With that, we came back up back on track and thinking Sydney were going to be in this. All of a sudden it was game on … we were coming back and I’m talking about Sydney. We were loving it.
“(But) when West Coast were up, it was the worst feeling in the world for us sitting in the stands.”
The quartet, who had combined for 771 senior games to that point of their careers, were all emphatically behind the current Dockers and their bid to claim the club’s first grand final berth.
Carr believed having beaten the powerful Geelong at Simonds Stadium in the qualifying final proved they were ready to take their biggest step and Cook said it would be a fitting reward for the club’s stalwarts.
“It would be awesome, especially to see some of the players who played in the last prelim and some of the boys who have shed a bit of blood for the side over so many years,” Cook said. “It would be great and I’d be so, so happy for them.”
It was a sentiment clearly echoed by Bell.
“There would be enormous satisfaction from the four of us here – and plenty of other people – that if Fremantle were good enough to do it this year and we’re all obviously hoping they do, that would be just so rewarding to see some of the guys we played with do it,” he said.Read The Weekend West tomorrow as the Fremantle greats reveal their secrets of the past and see the interview at thewest.com.au.