Eagles legends reveal their favourite games
Eagles legends reveal their favourite games

  • MICK MALTHOUSE *

  • West Coast 16.17 (113) d Western Bulldogs 15.10 (100), round 10, 1998, WACA Ground *

I obviously cherish the success we had in winning two grand finals, in 1992 and 1994, but one of my favourite games in my time with West Coast came just the year before I left, in 1999.

It was round 10 in 1998 against the Western Bulldogs in front of 28,193 fans at the WACA.

At quarter time, the Bulldogs had kicked 8.4 and held us goalless at 0.4. We were getting smashed by 48 points.

By half-time, we had kicked eight goals to their none in the second quarter and, remarkably, we led by a point. We stretched our lead to 11 points by three-quarter time and eventually won by 13 points.

It was one of the most remarkable games.

To make it even more remarkable, the goal umpire for that match was in his first game and because they don't change ends until half-time, he pulled out the flags for 16 goals in the first half while his colleague didn't see one.

At quarter time, you could have just about turned your toes up because they were a very good side and preliminary finalists that year. But I still remember the buzz among the players and thinking to myself, "I reckon we've still got a chance of clawing our way back into the game here. If we can just dig in and be, say, five down instead of eight down at half-time, we might be able to wear them down".

Then, all of a sudden, at half-time we were eight each.

Michael Braun was only 20 and in just his 14th senior game and got three Brownlow Medal votes for his 23 possessions. I remember Fraser Gehrig kicking three goals and Chad Morrison kicking four. I also remember outside the gate as I was leaving the ground after the game bumping into some people who had come up from Albany. The father had brought up his young son to watch the game.

The family had hardly ever been to a game and would have seen a remarkable one in West Coast's history.

Another game rich in my memory was the one against St Kilda in 1990, again at the WACA, when we were losing by 44 points at quarter time. Troy Ugle went from defence to attack later in the game and kicked six goals to help us win by 18 points.

That was a ripping game, too.


  • TREVOR NISBETT *

  • West Coast 16.12 (108) d St Kilda 14.6 (90), round 15, 1990, WACA Ground *

Obviously the grand finals and premierships are the best games because you won them, but if there was another one, it was at the WACA against St Kilda in round 15, 1990.

Craig Davenport had got the Saints off to a flyer in the first quarter, kicking five goals on Troy Ugle, and they led by 44 points at quarter time. The reason why that game remains pretty special to me is because Troy is a good friend and a good bloke. After getting towelled up by Davenport in the first quarter, he was later moved to attack and kicked five himself in the last quarter in a haul of six for the game.

It showed what great character he had to be able to turn it around and fight back. It helped the team come from a perilous position to win by 18 points and I remember, after the game, him having one of the biggest smiles on his face that I'd seen.

He'd proven to people you could turn things around within a game and not just wait until next week. The games in 1990 were really crucial to us to put a stamp on the competition as well and that game certainly showed the players and the team had character and real grit.

Karl Langdon got three Brownlow votes and Chris Mainwaring got one. You throw Troy in, and they were three of the hardest blokes you would ever find.

But it was a great team effort in the end to produce a remarkable turn around. It showed that the players had a resolve, whereas in the previous year they hadn't.

We were trying to build a team in 1990 to be resilient under any circumstances and that was probably one of the games that started the ball rolling.

Another game in Geelong in 2006 was also startling. They had been smashing us all day and up six goals at three-quarter time.

They had even smashed Adam Hunter into their concrete dugout and I was sitting in the stands, contemplating going home.

But to be so far behind such a great team and for Hunts to come back on and inspire us to a three-point win was a pretty special memory, even though we had a side we expected to do things like that.


  • JOHN WORSFOLD *

  • West Coast 15.14 (104) d Hawthorn 13.14 (92), round 5, 1987, Princes Park *

The three premierships we won were obviously special moments, but my favourite game was just my second match and the club's first win in Melbourne.

The fact that it came on Anzac Day against reigning premiers Hawthorn made it even more special and when we beat them again later in the year, we knew we were building to something meaningful as a club.

We got pumped by Carlton by 87 points in my debut game at the same ground the week earlier. We flew home and in those days, we just had to get back on the plane and fly straight back again.

Hawthorn had the likes of Dermott Brereton, Gary Buckenara, Jason Dunstall, Rodney Eade, John Platten, Michael Tuck and big Dipper (Robert Dipierdomenico).

It was Chris Mainwaring's first really good game on Dipper and they had a great rivalry for the next five years. In that game, Mainy had 26 possessions, kicked a goal and got the three Brownlow votes. Dipper only had 10 and a goal.

It was a wake-up call for the big Dipper.

I remember putting a shepherd on Dunstall in the last quarter and the crowd booed me as if you weren't allowed to do that to him. It was like, "You young idiots from over there aren't allowed to knock Jason Dunstall over".

It was the start of some wonderful memories to come, except at that stage they didn't know who they were booing.

Later that year, in round 18 at Subi, we beat them again by just one point. I'd broken my collarbone in between and it was my first game back after nine out.

I remember taking a mark at half-back and had my legs taken out from under me. I got smashed on the ground and thought I'd broken my collarbone again. But it was all right. We'd been behind all day, so we were pretty pumped when we won.

(In that round five win, Hawthorn had 2047 games-played experience in the VFL, matches compared to West Coast's 359.)


  • DEAN KEMP *

  • West Coast 14.16 (100) d Collingwood to 8.6 (54), round 1, 1990, Subiaco Oval *

My favourite game was my first. It was the first for Peter Matera, Dean Irving and Brad Gwilliam, too.

Collingwood ended up winning the premiership that year, but we got them in the first game. I lined up on Darren Millane, so that was pretty memorable.

I was about 40kg, so I thought, "This is going to be nice and mad". He didn't say anything to me, he just growled and I was a bit concerned for a while.

Anyway, I saw Paul Peos around the other side on Graham Wright. So I zipped around the back and told Poodoo that Wright was a bit too quick for him so I should take over while he went back on the other old bloke I was on (Millane).

Paul was fired up with the glassy eyes and charged around there. I got away with it and we had a win. Beautiful.

Just as I was walking out of the change rooms later, Mick Malthouse yelled out to me, "Tommy, get over here". I thought he wanted to say good job, but he gave me what for because I'd made that move. He told me he was the coach and I was the player and not to do it again.

But it was a brilliant game and you always remember your first one. During the pre-season, I'd had a bit of a groin injury, but got through and played on Mainy in a practice game and went pretty well.

It gave me a bit of confidence that I might get a game and I did and it just sort of kept rolling from there.

I remember there was a big blue in the match. Tony Francis was playing his first game for Collingwood (on his 21st birthday) and got six weeks suspension for kicking.

I wanted to get in there and pull a few heads off, but Woosha told me to get out of the way and not be so stupid. That was bloody lucky.

The umps must have felt a bit sorry for Peter Wilson that day because they gave him two Brownlow votes for his 11 possessions and a goal. It's all a bit of a blur now, but it was a pretty special day.


  • MURRAY RANCE *

  • West Coast 14.20 (104) d Geelong 11.17 (83), round 1, 1988, Kardinia Park *

I'd played my first two seasons for Footscray, but this was my first for West Coast. I remember the change rooms were pretty bad down there.

But seriously, the thing that excited me was that Ross Glendinning was always a hero of mine growing up. So to be able to play a club game of football with him was something special.

I'd played State of Origin with him, but I had a reasonable game that day and just remember every time I looked up when I had the ball, he was just there. It was just such a great memory. (Glendinning kicked 2.8).

The other thing was that it was the first time I had Bluey (Guy McKenna) and Woosha playing alongside of me. Bluey was just amazing and everywhere in just his first game and Woosha had such courage.

To watch them both go on and win premierships in 1992 and 1994 was a great thrill for me. We are still very close friends. They are really special blokes.

We won by a reasonable margin.

My son, Alex, played his first game for Richmond at the same ground in 2009.

To play that first game for the Eagles was pretty special. To be able to line up with blokes likes Glendinning, Steve Malaxos and these sorts of guys, it was every kid's dream to see a team from their own State in what was still the VFL back then.

Our kids then were just fantastic and I think it underwrote the talent that was in the pool.


  • GUY McKENNA *

  • West Coast 14.16 (100) d Hawthorn 12.15 (87), elimination final, 1992, Subiaco Oval *

Hawthorn had come over to Perth and beaten us in the qualifying final the year before and then obviously smashed us in the grand final.

I always thought whoever won that qualifying final would win the flag and I went into the 1992 finals with the same thought.

Back then, I'd had what would be known now as osteitis pubis and had a tendon release in the middle of the season after struggling to get on the park.

But I got through it and the elimination final turned out to be my 100th game. And all thanks to Mick Malthouse, I started it on the bench.

I'd be the only 100-game player who'd gone out in a final, tossed the coin and then gone off again. I ran out through the banner, touched the fence on the other side, tossed the coin and came straight back and sat on the bench.

It was one of the many lessons of team before self, or we not me.

It was a tight, tough tussle where they led at the end of every quarter except the one that mattered most. For a lot of the game, you couldn't helping thinking, "here we go again, they've got us. We just can't beat these mature, hard, disciplined bodies".

But we took our breaks when we had to take them and in the end, it was sort of the emergence of where we were heading and where Hawthorn had been. They'd been at the top of the tree and we thought we were probably seeing ourselves as the heir apparent.

I didn't tell anyone, apart from maybe on Mad Monday after the grand final, but I knew from the moment we beat them that we'd go on and win the flag. It may have been a horribly different conversation if we'd lost.

I still think that it was the game that made us, the coming of age of a footy club. To go on and win the grand final was like having your first kid, your first car or your first job ... you never forget those moments.

Being a West Australian, it felt like winning the America's Cup. It was the first cup to leave Victorian shores and we were very proud to be able to do that.

The West Australian

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