Round 17 – West Coast v Collingwood: One of those wins you’ll always remember

West Coast v Collingwood

8:10pm, Friday July 12

Perth Stadium




I sat down on the couch, heater blasting while the TV flicked on to the wondrous sights of Friday night footy. Spag bol cooked, eaten and cleaned up after, it was time to see what the Pies could muster in the wild wild West. Hopes hadn’t been high all week, coming up against our recent adversary whose frustrating game style had constantly thwarted us. But now it’s game day and full concentration is on the match there’s an odd flicker of hope similar to that famous preliminary final last year.


Seeing the sights of a packed out crowd tinged blue and a touch of yellow, it reminded me of the sky blue full house seen just two days before for State of Origin. The parochial nature of supporting their team wasn’t much different.


Overwhelming barracking gave the Eagles inspiration to start well. Before Collingwood could lay a finger on the ball, Darling had marked and kicked the opening goal. Perhaps it wasn’t to be the upset I hoped for… But the free flowing style West Coast initially adopted suited us. It brought us out of our defensive minded shell. Suddenly, a devastating burst of corridor football meant the Pies had changed their form. Mihocek and Cox both benefited from quicker ball movement and proved they were capable forwards. De Goey started in the midfield and was dangerous in the clearances battle. The ball ping-ponged between the ends of Optus Stadium. It was one of the best quarters of the year, as the 12 goals scored had the Eagles in front by under a kick.


The second quarter wasn’t quite as helter-skelter, but it still flew quickly. Darling’s initial start was slowly negated, despite Darcy Moore going off due to yet another hamstring injury. Hoskin-Elliott was thrown back and fought well. Pendlebury and Sidebottom were in vintage form, while the Nic Nat and Grundy contest was enthralling. Cox and Mihocek began to outplay the opposition forwards, but the Eagles, through the liveliness of Ryan and young Cameron, held the lead at the main break.


As the game wore on, West Coast looked more and more settled. They began to slow the game up and play their frustrating possession football. Our defence cracked and couldn’t force turnovers. For all of Collingwood’s improved efforts, the Eagles were pulling away. Just like they had for the past two years.


Halfway through the quarter though, something shifted. Suddenly Collingwood began to match them and defend well around the ground. They forced turnovers. Treloar’s in-and-under work was beneficial and didn’t result in turnovers the other way. The ball began to live down at Collingwood’s end, leaving McGovern and Barrass to defend. They managed to; the margin still hung at three goals at the last break.


The first half of the last quarter followed in similar vein. Collingwood were outplaying the Eagles, but couldn’t get a reward. Due to the ball staying in their forward half, West Coast sat tall defenders behind the ball and Collingwood couldn’t break out of the high kick forward entries. Mayne had done a brilliant defensive forward job on Hurn, taking out his influence of breaking the lines and kicking booming balls over forward zones. But Cox couldn’t get a clean run at it, it took Mihocek to provide some clever forward craft and mark the ball.


The goal had to be kicked. Something had to break…and the Eagles blinked first. Mihocek was now the most valuable player on the ground. The dam wall momentarily burst. De Goey won yet another clearance in breathtaking fashion, spinning out of trouble and blasting it forward. Brown’s pressure resulted in a smother that allowed De Goey to banana kick through an inspirational major. The X factor had risen when it most mattered. The game was now so important, as close as can be.


The last ten minutes was a slog of tactics and effort. Treloar continued to fight hard. Pendlebury and Sidebottom were enormous; they played smart and set up forward thrusts. Some valuable behinds from Crocker and Grundy edged Collingwood in front. But Darling ended up with a shot in a very Dom Sheed type of spot. The kick didn’t make the distance, being rushed through to leave Collingwood with the narrowest of leads. A stressful few minutes resulted, but the Pies were impressive in how they played it out. They avoided the centre corridor, took the right options and eventually locked it in their forward line. The siren caused an outpour of emotion. Some interstate wins are memorable, but this was a whole new level. It’s one you can’t forget. Who would’ve thought Quaynor and Noble would perform so well? That Cox and Mihocek would negate the Eagles defence? That all of it would have played out in a high-octane yet remarkable way? Something about it made me think that these two teams were still the best in the competition. But that’s a question to be answered in the next couple of months. For now, the weekend has just gotten so much better. The Pies are back.



WEST COAST         6.3    10.4    12.4    12.5 (77)
COLLINGWOOD    6.1     8.3      9.6     11.12 (78) 


West Coast: 
Cameron 4, Darling 3, Yeo 2, Ryan, Hickey, Allen
Collingwood: Mihocek 4, Cox 3, Phillips 2, De Goey 2 


West Coast: 
Yeo, Cameron, Jetta, Gaff, Sheppard, Darling
Collingwood: Mihocek, De Goey, Sidebottom, Treloar, Pendlebury, Crisp


Crowd: 56,251


Malarkey Medal votes:

3 – Brody Mihocek (COL)

2 – Jordan De Goey (COL)

1 – Steele Sidebottom (COL)



The opinions contained in posts are those of the author. They are not opinions of Malarkey Publications and




  1. Rule book says

    Sean I have always had a interest in the pies due to the huge number of Norwood players over the years starting from,Phil Carman and Michael Taylor which continues re James Aish was worried when,Aishy missed the goal that it was going to cost the pies ( on his dad,Andrews 60 th birthday ) was rapt when the siren went

  2. Aish made a couple of errors but was instrumental in holding up and turning back West Coast. One of his best games, especially in a depleted backline. A valuable win given we lose Pendles and Moore for the next few testing weeks.

  3. Game of the year. You like something because – and you love something despite. And I loved this game. Better footy than the GF – more skills and dash – but with the same full on edge of the seat excitement and anxiety.
    Your observations are all spot on Sean. First time I have seen Grundy dominate and now I understand the hype. He rag dolled Hickey all match and broke even with Nic Nait in the first half. In the second half Nic couldn’t run with him and Grundy’s gut running to block Eagles exit kicks down the line was immense. His hands inside are Natanuiesque and he always seems to get his hands free.
    Thanks for showing us your best before it really mattered. So long and thanks for all the fish.

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