Round 10 – Fremantle v Richmond: All points of the compass.

I once spent five footy seasons living about a mile from Subiaco Oval. In a country divided by distance, Perth’s a city divided by a river. I was in the West, from over East, living North of the river. Holidays were taken Down South and a lot of the other blokes were working Up North.
When I showed up to work at Royal Perth Hospital I thought that West Coast Eagles lanyards must have been part of the uniform. Cross the Swan though and everything turns from Gold and Blue to Purple. My first WA footy experience was at Fremantle Oval years earlier. We were holidaying over there when Dad took me to see the then All-Australian captain Stephen Michael play. I can remember being surprised that we could walk up and say hello after the game. Later I’d go down there on days off and watch the Dockers train. The draconian Fremantle prison borders the ground. There’s a beautiful Moreton Bay Fig at the same end. I’d sit under the tree and wonder what the prisoners must have been thinking when they heard the roar of the crowd.
When the Tigers visited the West it was always an adventure. The Yellow and Black scarf would usually illicit a few death stares. My favourite memory is of a sunny autumn afternoon in 2008 when Richo first played on the wing. He kicked five and the Tigers won by ten goals. A couple of dozen of us gave a RICHO RICHO cheer that out did the Purple Haze’s FREO FREO.
The first Docker mate I made was a bloke called Shane. We met at Royal Perth. I was working in the spinal unit and Shane had a few weeks earlier suffered a C1-occipital fracture in a dirt bike accident. If you look up C1-occipital fracture in the texts it will say death. Shane is more alive than most people I know. Early in 2006 I read the work roster and I saw I was down to nurse Shane. I passed through two negative pressure doors and there he was watching the Dockers on the telly. Shane’s injury means that he’s a ventilator dependant quadriplegic and because the injury is above his vocal cords it means he can’t talk either. Well, he can talk, he just can’t make sound. It means that you learn to lip read pretty quickly. Despite the serious nature of his injury and the sometimes precarious complications that happened in those early days, Shane’s personality quickly shone through. His attitude to me was, we don’t really have much choice but to get through each shift, so let’s enjoy it the best we can. We became mates. When a ventilator competent nurse was needed to take Shane to his brother’s buck’s party I got the call. That shift remains unique in my nursing career. Shane and I still exchange a few texts and being a Tigers/Dockers week the banter ran pretty hot.
I’m back living Over East so Friday night was a TV game. The Tigers entered Subiaco wearing their new alternate strip, or as it used to be known, the WA state jumper. The question all week, and in fact all year, had been how do you stop the Dockers? It was the Tigers who unexpectedly provided the answer. You don’t stop them, you just go faster than them. The first quarter was as good a football as I’ve seen the Tigers play. Brett Deledio showed his first class footy brain roving off Sandilands to goal. Dusty set the scene for a top class game with a brilliant running banana. The Dockers kicked the last two of the term to let everyone know it was still game on. Honestly the rest of the game went in a weird disbelieving blur. Nat Fyfe became a candidate for goal and mark of the year. Walters kicked enough to show he’s one of the best small forwards in the game.
For the Tigers the newly heralded back six/seven were brilliant. And when it’s up and running like in was on Friday night, Richmond’s midfield looks elite. The sight to really give Tiger fans hope was five goals combined from Vickery and Griffiths. If these two can play at this level more consistently the Tigers season may provide some more surprises yet.
During the time I nursed Shane I guess he’d seen some anxious looks on my face as the wrong machines went beep. But he knows nothing makes me as anxious as the Tiges. During the third quarter as the Dockers came back he messaged me “If you loose from here you can’t write my story up!” And later, “Got ya quivering?’
Well, here’s the story. And you can read/watch more of Shane’s story here:
Eat ’em alive Tigers.

About Chris Daley

Tiger fan Chris Daley works in Community Nursing, which has taken him to Perth, Broome and now Dandenong. Being tall, he used to get a game in the ruck playing bush footy outside of Warrnambool.


  1. David Zampatti says

    “We don’t really have much choice but to get through each shift, so let’s enjoy it the best we can.” Now there’s a Dockers supporter.

    Good on ya Shane. Good on ya Chris.

  2. Thanks David

  3. Dugald Jellie says

    Chris, this is a lovely story. Bravo! All power to you and Shane. I love the way football brings people together.

  4. Chris Daley says

    Thanks Dugald

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