Eagles celebrate first title - 20 years on
The captain and the coach. John Worsfold and Mick Malthouse with the premiership trophy. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

A team which promised to "Death Before Defeat" and went on to win West Coast's first premiership celebrated the 20-year anniversary yesterday in front of 650 people at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Coach Mick Malthouse, captain John Worsfold and Norm Smith medallist Peter Matera headlined the function with only Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna and the late Chris Mainwaring not there.

An empty seat was left for Mainwaring in the team photo.

Forward Karl Langdon summed up the team's mood on the day after a rousing speech from Malthouse that ended with everyone being given paper with "Death Before Defeat" on it.

"We were down at half-time and I went to put the mouthguard into the locker and there's that piece of paper staring at me in the face - Death Before Defeat," Langdon said.

"That was something I'll never forget. The feeling for me going out in the second half was if we didn't win this game, Mick was going to kill us."

Worsfold talked about his battle with champion Cat Gary Ablett, Matera recalled his amazing five goals, Brett Heady told of his move into the midfield in the second half and Malthouse reflected on the team's journey to the flag.

"You know deep down yourself how you're going to go," Malthouse said. "I had the greatest confidence that we were going to win."

Glen Jakovich, Dean Kemp, Don Pyke, Tony Evans, Ashley McIntosh, Peter Sumich, Peter Wilson, Craig Turley and Geelong star Bill Brownless also spoke on stage.

West Coast have won three premierships and most of the team played in the 1994 premiership as well, but Wilson said it would be hard to conquer the feeling from 1992.

"Being the very first, it's very hard to replace," he said.

Picture: Michael Wilson

The West Australian

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