Round 2 – West Coast v Carlton: Friday Night Lights (Up!)

Friday Night Lights (Up!)

West Coast versus Carlton

6.10pm, Friday 10 April

Domain Stadium, Perth

Andrew Cochrane

 

Friday night footy heralding the start of the weekend, there’s nothing quite like it.  After a beautiful autumn day in Melbourne it was time to relax, sit down in my favourite lounge chair and watch the big game.  The results in Round 1 had left our household a combined 0-2, my wife being a Kangas fan, and myself a West Coast fan.  Our two year old daughter is still non-aligned, with my wife and I having agreed that she can choose her own AFL team when the time comes.

 

After the Round 1 match against the Doggies I approached this game with some trepidation – not just because we lost last week but also because we were fast running out of defenders.  Beau Waters’ retirement coupled with the season-ending injuries to Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown left us short of talent, height and experience down back.  Our opponents though were unlikely to test our lack of height to the extent that say, the Swans might.

 

The players were as toey as I was as the match commenced, but a goal to Nic Nat in the first 20 seconds soon settled the nerves!  I kept my shouts to a dull roar though as we were trying to get our daughter to bed by this time.  Goal celebrations thereafter were kept to a fist pump and a sip of the red stuff (Dr Pepper!).  The first quarter brought plenty of action from both teams – Kennedy gifting a goal to Lecca, Judd doing some terrific work getting the ball out of packs, and Bell getting a hit out right in front of Carlton’s goals which found Murphy inexplicably on his own in the forward pocket, thankfully though on an angle that he couldn’t goal from …. except that he somehow threaded it through to give the Blues a two goal lead going into quarter time!

 

By now the sips of Dr Pepper had become gulps, the Easter Eggs that were supposed to last another couple of weeks were being devoured in a nervous frenzy, and I reflected on the fact that Carlton’s record at Subi is pretty good of late, including last year where they came up just short against Freo, and the year before where they pinged us by four goals.

 

The second quarter saw a lot of effort for not much reward early.  Then suddenly, half way through the quarter with the Eagles trailing by four points, came the type of play that can change a game – after an Eagles behind Yarran, who until then had been superb, attempted a cover-your-eyes-awful short-pass to Tuohy who, by the time the ball had arrived, was outnumbered two to one.  The Eagles were able to spoil the pass and the ball duly fell to Kennedy who snapped a goal.

 

By half time the Eagles had stretched the lead to 13 points, far from insurmountable but the momentum had shifted dramatically in West Coast’s favour.  Of course, as things do when you’re on the road and struggling a bit, the 50-50 decisions had started to go against Carlton, and the shots of the coach’s box showed an apoplectic Malthouse, leaving me to feel sorry for the poor journos who would have to interview him after the match.

 

The half time break brought a chance to relax, finally put our daughter to bed (she’d shown more fight than the Blues in the second quarter!) and reflect that perhaps the Eagles weren’t quite the basket case that I’d thought they were just thirty minutes earlier!  Suddenly the night seemed that much more enjoyable, the Dr Pepper was replaced by a calming ale and the remaining Easter Eggs were safely back in the kitchen out of reach.

 

The third quarter became a procession, a Kennedy goal in the first minute set the tone and he’d kicked four for the term before Jones stemmed the tide for a moment.  But by now the Eagles were well on top, and led by 46 points at three-quarter time.

 

The only questions left to answer going into the last quarter were what margin the Eagles would win by and whether Kennedy, who by now was sitting on nine goals, could kick his tenth.  The answers were 69 points and YES, Kennedy seemingly mobbed by the entire Eagles team as he kicked his tenth goal, my promise to keep the noise down being temporarily forgotten.

 

Friday night footy is great when your team wins.  Somehow it just makes the weekend feel all the better.  There were many positives for West Coast tonight.  I enjoyed the delight that the Eagles players showed when Kennedy scored that tenth goal, it showed to me a one-in all-in approach that we’ll need when we play stronger teams.  Nic Nat and Lycett loom as a potentially formidable ruck duo with their quite contrasting styles being difficult to counter for our opponents. Gaff, Masten, Shuey, Sheed and Sheppard showed that our midfield can be pretty good when all players are up and firing.  As for Priddis, does he ever put in a poor performance?

 

Kennedy and LeCras up forward are always a handful.

 

Our defence will be tested against stronger opponents, but Hurn, McGovern and Bennell are talented footballers who will hold their own.

 

There’s hope for the season and that sure feels better than how I felt at quarter time.  I doubt we’re a top-8 team this year, but I hope we can win our fair share of games at Subi, and perhaps snag a road game or three.

 

As for the Blues, Tuohy, Gibbs, Everitt and Murphy toiled manfully for them.

 

I hope the Eagles fans enjoyed watching Chris Judd for what is most likely the last time, the pain of when he left having long since subsided.

 

As I was packing up for the night I happened to see Judd having a long chat to Dean Cox.  I couldn’t help but wonder if he was saying: “I wish I’d retired last year like you old mate”.  Not on account of his own form, but because it looks like it’s going to be a long difficult year for the Blues.

 

Such is footy, the contrast of emotions, the joy in the grandstands of the Eagles fans as opposed to the forlorn look on the Blues players’ faces leaving the arena, the rollercoaster from week to week and even within games.  For now I could revel in the Eagles win, a happy camper as I prepare to hit the hay for the night.  Let’s not think about next week’s Derby for another day or two …

 

WEST COAST  4.1  7.8  14.10  20.11 (131)
CARLTON        6.1  6.1   7.6      9.8 (62)

Goals

West Coast: Kennedy 10, LeCras 4, Shuey 2, Cripps 2, Lycett, Naitanui,
Carlton: Casboult 2, Everitt, Tuohy, Murphy, Henderson, Bell, Ellard, Jones

Umpires:  Chris Donlon, Luke Farmer, Brendan Hosking.

Crows: 34,588

Votes: Kennedy (West Coast) 3, Priddis (West Coast) 2, Shuey (West Coast) 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Cheesehead

An Eagles fan that enjoys a day at the local footy and then coming home to watch the AFL. Can't believe how quickly the years have passed since our last flag ...!

Comments

  1. Good one Cheese (does that make you a Packers fan?) I think the Dockers will be far too physically strong for us next week, but I am looking forward to the season now.
    I always thought Adam Simpson was our biggest asset because the players enjoy playing for him, and are trying to adopt his running shorter passing game.
    It was notable how often we lowered our eyes and kicked to JK and MLC running into space on Friday night. No more of Woosha’s bomb it long to the big blokes (thankfully).
    Space and time to execute are not things that Freo allows. Still I just want to see continued improvement among the younger players – not miracles – and Friday was a first down payment. Good to see Nic Nat fit and enjoying footy again.
    Good to hear another passionate Eagles voice on the site (I was starting to think we had an adult literacy problem).

  2. Cheesehead says

    Thanks Peter_B (and yes I am a Packers fan!), agree re next week’s game, I can’t see us matching Freo’s physicality and pressure all around the ground, we certainly won’t be afforded the luxury of the free space we had on Friday night.

    I’m more than pleased with Simpson as our coach so far, I think if we can persevere with him, use this season as somewhat of a year to get experience into the right kids and hopefully build some confidence with some good wins it’ll have been a fruitful season.

    I really like our ruck combo, it’s early days but it could be quite a handful against the right opposition.

    And thanks, yeah hopefully we can exchange opinions as the season goes on.

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