AFL Round 16 – West Coast v Fremantle: Just The Facts, Ma’am

My name’s Friday.  It’s Tuesday and the boss says I have to file my report on Sunday’s mugging.

Sunday July 14.  Cool, shady day in Perth.  My partner is Eagle; Avenging Eagle.  Who let dames on the squad?  We were working the day watch for the Gang Squad.  The Purple Heart gang were reported to be squaring off with cross-town rivals the Blue Moods.

2.30: The gangs appear.  I look for the usual suspects, but Selwoods, Kerr, Shuey, Waters and Hurn are all waiting parole at the big house. The Purple gang are mostly there except the big smiling assassin in the backline.  This could get ugly.  First thing I notice is how big and muscled the Purple gang have got.  Fyfe, Hill, Barlow all used to be skinny kids.  Looks like they have been getting the good gear from the Windy City.  Peptides to promote Purple Heart growth.

2.35: The mob bosses are out on the sidelines.  Lyonovich heads the Purple gang.  Haircut says it all.  Standard Ukrainian mafia issue.  O’Woosh is old school Boston Irish heavy. Jowls hanging loose from sudden weight loss.  Stress of holding the gang together, or working out for the new blonde down at the Bad A Bing?  Believe half of what you see, and less of what you hear.

2.40: Fisticuffs commence.

2.55:  Looks like the Blue gang are in for a mauling, but I’m not looking at them.  The local cops on the beat are clearly on the take.  Thrown away the law book.  Haven’t found a single infringement in all the muggings by both gangs.  No “ball”; “throw” or “back” today despite loud warnings from 40,000 witnesses.  Make note to check their bank accounts.  Regular weekly payments from the ARU.  Local Sergeant Giesch is holidaying on Riviera courtesy of Rugby mob bosses.  They want to wean locals of traditional footy dope, and get them used to this rugby heavy shit.  Looks like the fix is in.  Game could be decided 9-8 on penalties.

3.10: Blues hit back late.  Down only 11 on the spread.  Could be more interesting than I thought.

3.30:  Getting out of hand again.  Purple Hearts racing by 18.

3.50:  Check the vital signs.  Blue Moods still have a pulse.  ‘King’ Jack finally taking uppers again after a year on the downers.  Has 3 big ones in the bag.   Blues little guys are in every scrap.  It’s tight and its ugly, but it’s a contest not a fix.  One point spread to the Blues as the gangs disappear back down their tunnels. Time for a breather while I go to collect my brown paper bag.

3.55:  What’s this country coming to?? They want me to pay them 5 bucks for cold horse meat in a brown bag.  Used to be when the bag contained a wad of used twenties just to keep me sweet.  I had to head West after things got a bit hot in the Valley for me and Sir Terry.  Every team used to have a bagman.  Lockett, Dunstall, Ablett, Suma – someone got 10 big ones every week.  Now it’s all scratching around for nickels and dimes.

4.30:  This is good shit.  One gang delivers a big hit and then the other mob tops them.  I’m enjoying this.  Old school biff.  Mr Blue takes out Walters with a shot to the shoulder.  Mr Purple retaliates with a head shot on Mr Brown.  Both boys have recent rap sheets, and look like they will be taking a long stretch up the Swan River at the cracker family farm.

4.40: I try to calm my partner the Avenger.  She has a bit on the side for the boys in Blue. She is excited that they have a 2 point spread when the local cops call a temporary halt to hostilities.  I tell her to cool it until the fat dame sings.

4.50:  Like I feared, it’s ‘rope a dope’ time.  Lyonovich pulled out the Uzis in the huddle and said “ok boys, time to run and spread now and give ‘em a good spray.”  Lyonovich is a ruthless bastard, but he knows how to run a top gang after his time with the Killers and the Reds.

5.10:  Ugly. Ugly.  Big Cox and the Big Fijian both started on one leg, and now they have none.  The little Blue Heelers in the midfield have showed plenty of fight, but the Purple Rottweilers have finally chewed them up and spat ‘em out.  Sad, but as cage fights go it’s been a good spectacle all day.

5.20:  Fight went the full 15 rounds which few predicted, but the bookies got the cash as always with a 28 point spread for the Purple gang.

Purple Charge Sheet: If there was one kid I could take home for the Purples its big Izzy Clarke.  The kids got moves, and with Big Laurie back and running protection for him this kid can make it in the big time.  The other is the MJ Cool – the Black Prince of their Backline.  Since Lyonovich got him up against the wall with the rubber hose a year back, the kid has given up the gear and showed what he can do.  Hill, Mayne, Fyfe, Mundy, Barlow, Walters all gave the sort of disciplined effort that would have warmed Boss Lyonovich’s heart if he had one.

Blue Charge Sheet: King Jack, Toughened Glass, Big Eric, Mr Blue Embley, Larry Priddis, Curley Masten and Moe Hutchings all worked their patches hard for O’Woosh.

ICAC Inquiry: The local beat cops are on corruption charges for murdering the game.  Remember when you could go down the street of an afternoon and you would always hear the local cop’s whistle, as he pulled over some kid and gave him a clip over the ear as a warning.  Now it’s only silence as the cops are paid to stay mute.  They mostly practice drawing squares in the air and waiting for the TV to do their jobs for them.  Word is they are all after the Aleem Dar gig, taking the big money from the Indian bookies to fix the Old Trafford Test in August.

Epilogue: The Purple Hearts will take out one of the big Eastern State gangs in September.  The Reds, the Hoops and the Chamber Pot gang all need to watch out.  The Purple Hearts are a ruthless, disciplined outfit under Lyonovich.  They can keep it tight and then ‘switch to vaudeville’ whenever the boss asks for it.  With their full gang on the park they will make it to the last 4, and maybe even to the Big Dance.  If they do I will be going for a short walk.  I may be gone a little while.  Concrete shoes in Fremantle Harbour.


BLUE MOODS             2.3    6.5    11.8    14.9  (93)                 

PURPLE HEARTS         4.2    6.4    11.6    19.7 (121)         



Blues: Darling 5, LeCras 2, Schofield 2, Kennedy 2, Cripps 2, Embley

Purples: Walters 3, Mayne 3, Pavlich 3, Barlow 2, Hill 2, Mzungu, Crowley, D Pearce, Fyfe, Sutcliffe, Sheridan


Blues: Darling, Glass, Embley, Mackenzie, Priddis, Hutchings, Masten

Purples: Hill, Mayne, Fyfe, Johnson, Mundy, Walters, Barlow, Clarke.


Beat Cops on the Take: Farmer, Jeffery, McInerney


Witnesses: 39,839


Malarkey Tipoffs: Hill 3 (PH); Mayne 2 (PH); Darling 1 (BM)




  1. Sean Gorman says

    Footy Noir Pete! Its a new genre congrats.

  2. Pete

    Don’t know the West or the rivalry as well as you, so question for an expert. What woudl it be like if the Haze won the Big Dance? Would you need to leave town for a while? Is it a town divided like Adelaide?


  3. Yep Sean, there is a real cross town rivalry/hatred in Perth. Most die hards have a bumper sticker that reads “I barrack for the Eagles/Dockers and whoever is playing against the Dockers/Eagles”.
    Seems to be a combination of factors. The old working class versus the silvertails stuff of Freo versus the rest of Perth. South and East Freo hated each other first in the WAFL, and then had a rivalry with the other ‘big end of town’ teams.
    Then there is the big brother versus little brother dynamic of the Eagles with 3 premierships and the Dockers with an empty trophy case. You have to understand that the Eagles were originally owned by a private business consortium, so there is definitely the sense that they are the stockbroker/lawyer/mining magnate club (as you see in Sean Gorman’s article).
    Personally I came to Perth in 1997 and lived 15 years in Canberra and 25 years in Adelaide growing up. So the historical rivalry stuff is a bit lost on me. I would rather the Dockers won this year than the Hawks, Cats, Swans or the despised drug cheats. I would probably barrack for the Tigers but that’s hardly a likely reality. But we would still cop a lot of stick in return for a lifetime’s condescension of our sibling.
    I think that Lyon and the current playing group have done a lot to shake the ‘talented but flaky’ label that the Dockers have had since inception. Good luck to them.

  4. Sean Gorman says

    We love west coast – always have done! As for that private consortium PB they nearly flushed the whole thing done the shitter. Footy Ltd by Linnell explains all – hard to get a hold of these days but puts the whole schmozzle into context. Kooombya my lord……

  5. Dave Nadel says

    Footy Limited explains some of it Sean, but Linnell as a supporter of business (then and now) and also someone who tends to deal in personalities rather than historical forces doesn’t cover it all. Football Limited is a great yarn, Linnell is a very good writer but ultimately he is a journo rather than a historian.

    In my (unpublished) thesis I point out that part of the failure of the original West Coast private ownership was that they were trying to make footy fans pay a lot for something that they had previously got almost for free. They were selling seats as share packages (at share prices) when WAFL barrackers had been buying seats at seat prices for over eighty years.

    Ironically, Linnell, who is now senior management at Fairfax is trying to do something very similar at the moment. Make readers pay for on-line news which has previous been free.

  6. Sean Gorman says

    Thanks Dave thats what happens when river boat gamblers and used car salesmen get involved in footy – trust you are well & we are still to do the vox pop down Swanston re Pastor Doug.

  7. Neil Belford says

    When can we expect that work to become available Dave. The formation of the West Coast Eagles was the most disgraceful episode, on all sides except the WAFL who were blindsided, in the history of sport in Australia

    The end is in the beginning – West Coast Eagles. I rest my case.

  8. Ancient history and sour grapes.
    “Success has a thousand fathers – failure is an orphan”.

  9. The West is an apt place for Footy Noir… one of the great contemporary Australian crime novels (City of Light by Dave Warner) opens at the footy (an East Fremantle game if memory serves…)

  10. Sean Gorman says

    PB – it really is not sour grapes just another truth in a sea of many other truths. The Perth media turn their backs on it because it is too hard and unsavoury. I don’t blame the players or the admin I blame the the ‘faceless men’ who punted on something they had no right to but that’s what happens when your genesis is linked to big business in WA . When I hear the term Indian Pacific I don’t think of the train.

  11. Neil Belford says

    City of Light is brilliant Litza – and in the world of the real Dave Warner, there are only two types of footballers – East Fremantle players and others.

  12. Dave Nadel says

    1. It would be great to get together if you are in Melbourne sometime before Christmas
    2. For all of the shonky aspects of Indian Pacific West Coast’s experience of private ownership was professional compared with private ownership in the Northern and Eastern states. Edelsten, who bought the Swans with money that he didn’t have, Cronin, who couldn’t even manage a suburban hardware store much less a professional football club and his partner Skase who was a common or garden crook. Weinert and Willesee were less glamorous and less successful than Edelsten. Pelerman had at least run a successful business and wasn’t a crook but he knew nothing about football.

    In Melbourne private ownership of North Melbourne nearly led to a Carlton takeover. By comparison with Sydney, Brisbane and North, the Weagles got off lightly.

    I think that bird has flown. I completed my thesis in 2000. It is probably a bit late to get it published now.

    Litza and Neil.
    Dave Warner’s City of Light contains some of the best fictional writing about footy ever. There are whole novels devoted to footy that never reach the heights that Warner reached in the few pages that he wrote about a couple of East Fremantle games.

  13. Neil Belford says

    I started City of Light one afternoon at Les E’s place having seen it on his dining table, and finished it at around 10 the next morning. It defines un-put-down-able.

    Its not just the kooky corporate structure the nascent Eagles had, it was the stinking heist of WA football in conspiracy with the the then VFL that has no-one has ever been brought to account for, and it set in concrete, without any discussion the tedious US model we have for the game hierarchy, rather than providing a chance to develop a more useful tiered structure. Of course this was designed by the VFL to entrench their hegemony over what had been an entirely different architecture.

    And the bastard child of that creepy bunch of blokes was formed in greed with a culture of ‘whatever it takes’ that prevails in that pharmacologically well qualified club to this day. Lance Armstrong was ‘successful’, Essendon got caught, Eagles – three premierships.

  14. Editors,
    Could have I please have my innocent post about a football match last Sunday taken down.
    Alternately – where are you Matty Q and Brad C???
    This is the Almanac equivalent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
    You got 4 points, Purple Scum. I even said (for the last time) a few positive things about your current team, coach and finals aspirations.
    What has the historical antecedents of a club got to do with recent history? As I recall this country was founded as a penal colony for the overflow of English prisons. Seems to have turned out OK compared to most other countries.
    I recollect that the Purple Scum Inc until recently included the CEO of Wesfarmers – which in its guise as Coles Supermarkets – has done more to decimate Australian agriculture and farming than any other entity.
    We all need to use a long spoon when we sup with the devil (given that Julie Bishop is now on our board. I wonder if she taught Woosh how not to blink in press conferences??)

  15. Sean Gorman says

    You have to understand that the Eagles were originally owned by a private business consortium, so there is definitely the sense that they are the stockbroker/lawyer/mining magnate club.

    Am I missing something??

  16. David Zampatti says

    Nice to see City of Light get praise from such erudite and insightful folk , although I think Neil’s implied assertion that the people who play for East Fremantle are footballers needs serious analysis. For someone to be a “footballer”, they’d have to play “football”, something East Fremantle hasn’t done for decades. If ever.

  17. Neil Belford says

    Pete – valid point about hijacking your post. Sorry for that.

  18. Nathan Jarvis says

    I see the hapless water buffaloes from Joondy-Woondy got their garlicky shorts pulled down today. And, of course, once the trou were down the cheekslapping just naturally followed.

    Cheer, cheer the Blue and the White.

  19. Fair chance you will be meeting the hoops on the Shifting Sands in 3 weeks time.
    “Cheer, cheer the Blue and the White……”

Leave a Comment