AFL 1997 – Twenty Years On: West Coast Eagles (6th)

A clear majority of the Eagles’ most recent premiership side were still going three years later, as was the coach. With a closely bunched top eight, their moderate percentage (and convoluted finals system) saw them play and lose two away finals. The first of these was against the Crows, the match rescheduled due to Princess Diana’s funeral.

From some reports, this list (thanks to the Football Record) included more than one Smoker. At least their influx of clean cut youth (#19 and #35) would have set them straight.

Quite a few of these players subsequently experienced footy success elsewhere, others weren’t so fortunate. Such is life.

If you have any special memories about these Eagles, before, during or after 1997, please let us know below.

(PS – We have another example of a non-player getting a mugshot)


List Management

AFL Debuts 1997: Michael Braun, Michael Gardiner, Neil Marshall, Nicholas Stone, Josh Wooden

Players Kept Under Wraps 1997: Jonson Clifton, Michael Dunstan, Shane Sikora, Craig Smoker, Paul Whitelaw

Never Heard of Him: Neil Marshall

Delistings/Retirements end 1997: David Hart (ret), Jonson Clifton, Michael Dunstan, Paul Whitelaw.


You can review all of the AFL 1997 lists here

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Brett Spinks. He went to Geelong in 1998, the new gun forward: not. Mitchell White also went to Kardinia Park, though he’d played his best footy with the Weagles.

    I’d forgotten Big Ilija ended up with the Weagles. Daniel Metropolis five goals from his first five kicks in the AFL. There’s not much else to recall about him.

    Keep the sides coming Swish. They’re interesting



  2. Not many 1997 sides can boast a player name-dropped in alternate music, but this mob can, in Perth rapper Drapht’s song Jimmy Ricard-

    He was the fairest of them all
    Like mirror, mirror on the wall, like Wirrpunda on the ball

  3. Chris Weaver says

    Craig Smoker bobbed up the following year at Melbourne. I never knew he was originally at West Coast – had to look up the trade (pick 34).

    There were two schools of thought on ‘Chain’. I thought he could play; the rest of the world (including eventually the Melbourne FC match committee) though he couldn’t.

    The player West Coast drafted with the traded pick was Andrew ‘Hottie’ Williams (I don’t know the origin of the ‘Hottie’ moniker). He and Smoker ended up together at Williamstown, where they were teammates in the 2003 VFL Premiership side.

  4. ’97 was the year I moved to Perth – but after footy season. Only 4 left by the ’06 Flag were Banfield, Cousins, Braun and Wirrpanda + Woosha as coach.
    Jarrod Schofield has had a great career. 206 AFL games across 3 clubs – Eagles, Port and the Dockers – including playing in Port’s ’04 flag. Played 114 games for Subiaco in the WAFL including 3 flags. Is now in his 5th season as their non-playing coach for 2 flags and long odds-on for this year.
    Nick Stone was the first person charged with recreational drug use under the AFL’s anti drug code. He got 6 weeks (amphetamine and methamphetamine) in 2000, as the Tribunal accepted his drink was spiked (better than Warnie and Senator Canavan’s “mum did it”). Wikipedia says he is now successful in business in New York. Sounds lucky to have escaped WCE when he did.

  5. Hottie Williams’ first game for Williamstown was the winning 2003 GF when he was on Collingwood’s list, played at Willi for many years after delisted by the Pies, as did Smoker, both great players at Willi

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks all for that, there was lots there that was new to me.

    Ball, G-Train, Morrison, Gardiner and Cousins all headed east.

    Metropolis and Fewster had some time at the Dockers.

    (Mickey, Elvis did Kissin” Cousins and Wooden Heart. And didn’t The Radiators sing something about the guy who wore #1)

  7. Poor Michael Gardiner was scarred for life in the last bark at The Kennel when the 3 Amigos went after him. Of course Cousins was already scarred by Libba in the first meeting at the WACA. Hard to believe that this year we’re farewelling Subiaco yet 20 years ago we squeezed in for a Friday Night across the road from the trots.

  8. Swish the non player: Neil Marshall ?


  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks Mick, I think Gardiner got over it.

    Dunstan, Glen.

  10. Ta Swish. Who was Michael Dunstan ? It said he played 43 AFL games prior to 1997.

    As a ‘notable Australian’ says: Please explain ?


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