The West

The West's WAFL team look at all the news from around the State league.

The West's WAFL team look at all the news from around the State league.

We know coaches can get emotional when things don’t go their way – think Tony Micale and a Medibank Stadium door or Garry Hocking and a Rushton Park window or Mal Brown and a television mic or Alistair Clarkson and a wall or ...

But it is not often that a club has to search high and low to replace equipment that has become collateral damage of a coach’s frustration.

But that is what happened at Claremont Oval on Saturday when East Fremantle had to replace a headset used to communicate between the coaches box and the bench.

Sharks coach Steve Malaxos had a tough day at the office when his team was towelled up by the Tigers.

And it was made even tougher after his headset went missing early in the game when Malaxos slammed it onto the desk in front of him only to have it bounce straight out the window.

A sheepish East Freo official was spotted tiptoeing onto the grandstand roof after the game in a bid to retrieve the flyaway equipment but there was no news about whether he could find it in the gathering gloom.

Malaxos was in no mood to present the cup named in his honour to Claremont after their 92-point win saw the trophy change hands.

The Malaxos Cup recognised the great contribution made by a player who won flags at both clubs, is a life member of both and is one of just three WAFL players alongside WA legend Jack Sheedy and the tireless Kris Miller to play 100 games at two clubs.

But there was another Malaxos on hand to present the trophy – Steve’s brother Michael who played 16 matches for the Tigers in 1969 and 1970.

Miller is a league stalwart and is quietly advancing up a special WAFL honour board.

The South Fremantle midfielder has now played 275 WAFL matches and sits in 12th place on the all-time list.

So far this season, he has passed Neil Taylor (260), Con Regan (262), Steve Marsh (265), Marty Atkins (266), Barry Cable (267), Derek Chadwick (269), John Hayes (272), Ken Caporn (273) and Darrell Panizza (274).

He is on track to pass West Perth legend Ray Schofield (277) and equal Swan Districts tough man Stan Nowotny (278) in round 22 and will stand alone in 10th place when South play their final game of the season against West Perth a week later.

Miller’s feat is all the more remarkable when you consider that he has not missed a match since making his debut in 1999 apart from a three-week gap in 2006 when he fell out with East Fremantle’s somewhat humourless coach David Dunbar.

Miller moved to South the following season and is coming up for six full seasons without missing a game in red and white.

There is no shortage of suggestions about who might take the reins at Peel next season with former Claremont coach and current Carlton assistant Mark Riley the most recent name to emerge.

Riley was an assistant to Gerard Neesham at the Tigers but took over midway through the 1994 season when Neesham was appointed inaugural Fremantle coach. He was also in charge for two seasons at the start of the century.

The man known as Bomber also had jobs with the Dockers and Melbourne, becoming the caretaker for the final nine matches in 2007 when Neale Daniher resigned, before becoming Brett Ratten’s right hand man at the Blues.

It might not have won a father-son match but the Claremont dads at Tigerland on Saturday would have put a reasonably decent team on the park.

Seven of the Claremont players have fathers who played league football and all seven were watching their offspring give East Freo a touch-up.

The most credentialled was Wayne Blackwell who won flags with Claremont and Carlton and is a regular at most Tigers fixtures as he watches his son Luke, the current Sandover medallist and a star of the WAFL.

Wayne Blackwell was premiership teammates with Noel Morton whose son Jarryd is going well for the Tigers while Andrew McGovern’s broken leg early in the 1994 grand final played a significant part in Claremont not being able to get over the line.

But his son Jeremy could go one better this season while Jack Bradshaw has already played more matches than his father Wayne who recently stepped aside as boss of the WA Footy Commission.

Trevor Nisbett, who played at East Perth and is now arguably the most influential figure in WA football as the chief executive of powerhouse West Coast, was delighted to watch his son Brad kick three goals in his best outing in league ranks.

And former Perth player Bruce Stevenson kept a close eye on his son Lewis while John Holt, who starred for North Melbourne in the 1980s, has plenty to be proud of as he watches the development of his young fellow Aaron.

Wayne Blackwell had a few words of wisdom for Luke who was put in the book after a clash with Richard Hadley.

Wayne recalled that he was rubbed out three times during his period at the Blues – copping two weeks each for belting Andrew Demetriou, Doug Hawkins and Trevor Flood.

But he was baffled at how AFL supremo Demetriou got mixed up when he was asked about his own disciplinary record during a television interview not that long ago.

“He said he got two weeks for whacking Wayne Blackwell,” the alleged victim said.

Bull@#$%! It was me who got the two weeks, not him!”

Claremont fathers were not the only prominent onlookers at the game.

The arrival of 2000 Brownlow medalist Shane Woewodin, who is now an assistant to Brisbane coach Michael Voss, swelled the numbers of former East Fremantle coaches present.

Woey was in Perth for the Lions match against the Eagles but didn’t pick a great day to watch his former club in action.

He was at the helm for three seasons before Steve Malaxos while Blackwell also had a couple of years before getting the heave-ho while Andrew Lockyer, now a Collingwood recruiting scout, was caretaker for the second half of 2004.

The West Australian

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