There may have been greater resurrections at Easter but Subiaco produced their own remarkable comeback with an absorbing Good Friday victory last night.
Down by 15 points in the last term, the previously unbeaten Lions found a way to overcome their Medibank Stadium co-tenants East Perth by 24 points, 16.10 (106) to 12.10 (82).
The Royals were kept goalless in the first quarter and surrendered a 43-point deficit before fighting back so strongly that they appeared likely to produce their own Easter miracle.
But Subiaco forward Chris DeLuca snapped two goals within a minute after George Hampson was given a free-kick on the goal-line when an East Perth defender was adjudicated to have deliberately pushed the ball through for a behind.
It should have been a much easier victory but Subiaco were not able to make full use of their stunning start to the contest in front of the biggest WAFL crowd of the season – 3440 spectators - on a balmy evening in Leederville.
Hampson finished with five goals as the most creative player on the ground while Victorian recruits Matt Boland and Lachlan Delahunty confirmed their value with strong contributions in attack.
East Perth boasted 13 West Coast players but it was the two at either end of the ground – ruckman forward Scott Lycett and remade defender Jeremy McGovern who kept their team in the contest in the first half then inspired the push for victory after the long break.
East Perth’s work-rate improved dramatically after their record 100-point drubbing by West Perth last week but it took at least 30 minutes for the Royals to reveal their class after Subiaco started with the spirit and excellence that had brought them four consecutive victories.
The Lions kicked six goals to nil in the first term and stretched their lead to 43 points at the 14 minute mark of the second when lively opportunist Hampson kicked his third goals.
East Perth appeared top heavy, even in the absence of power forward Josh Smith who was hampered by an ankle problem, and the presence of two Eagles ruckmen in Lycett and Callum Sinclair mean that the league’s best big man, Paul Johnson, was forced to spend much of his time in the goal square.
Subiaco produced one of the plays of the season in the first quarter when the ball was raced from end to end with just three precise and weighty kicks.
Wayde Twomey’s kick-in landed in the centre square where Shane Yarran rose to claim a spectacular pack mark before spearing a 60m pass onto the chest of George Hampson inside the forward 50m.
Hampson coolly slotted the goal to complete the splendid passage of play and give Subiaco their fourth unanswered major at the start of the game.
East Perth finally got going midway through the second term when Johnson was swung into the ruck and a different complexion came over the team.
Lycett had fought a lone battle on the ball and in attack and his endeavour and attack on the ball set an example that was finally followed by his team-mates.
Lycett kicked East Perth’s first goal after a goal square scrabble early in the second term then added another two as the Royals cut the deficit to 11 points at the main break.
McGovern had a significant impact deep in defence where he claimed eight first-half marks while one 70m kick-in was transferred in a flash to the other end where Lycett completed the goal.
|GOALS – SUBIACO: Hampson 5; Boland 4; DeLuca 2; Phelan, Stockley, Kayler-Thomson, Joyce, Mahoney. EAST PERTH: Lycett 5; Wulff 2; McGinnity, Clutterbuck, McInnes, Oakley-Nicholls, Dobson.|
BEST – SUBIACO: Hampson, Stockley, Delahunty, Phelan, Horsley, Bristow. EAST PERTH: Lycett, McGovern, Wulff, McGinnity, Butler, Blee.