Round 22 – Fremantle v Richmond: Subiaco Stories

Subiaco Stories

Fremantle Dockers vs Richmond Tigers
2:40pm, Sunday 20 August
Domain Stadium, Perth

Josh Coales


Ever since 1908, all big football matches have been played at Subiaco Oval. As of 2018, they will be played at the new Perth Stadium. It’s hard to believe that Subiaco Oval, a site that any footy follower in WA will have at least a handful of memories of, will be useless. Everyone’s footy story starts somewhere. The first words of my footy story will be something like, Josh was born to a Freo loving Father and Freo loving Grandfather and had no choice but to adopt Freoism or be put up for adoption. My story will then continue, split into three parts, interstate games, games at Subiaco Oval and the new chapter, games at the Perth Stadium. The first part of my story will be my first 2 games, vs Melbourne at the MCG in 2006 and vs Essendon at Etihad Stadium (Telstra Dome as it was then) and other interstate games. The second part of my story started when Freo beat Richmond, round 11 2007 in what was a brilliant weekend and my first real memory. The second part of my story is an emotional roller coaster. Freo go through three coaches, purple patches and rough patches. However, there is no happy ending. The story ends with a 104 point defeat to the Tigers who look promising for finals footy. The third part has yet to start publishing but hopefully it is a better story than the first and second parts.

It was tough heading to Subi for the last two pints and cokes at our usual place. So many years of memories have been forged here. My heroes had poured their blood, sweat and the occasional tear on the turf that would soon be discarded and just a venue that footy used to be played at. It’s so hard to put in to words what Subiaco Oval meant to me. It meant so much more than footy. It meant friends, family. It meant weekends. It meant so much more than just footy.

As we entered the pub, there was a tinge of optimism in the air. Maybe the Dockers would turn up and play the best game of footy they have played all year and cause a massive upset. When calling our predictions, I think with my head not my heart and say Richmond by 37. Grandad said Richmond by 23 and Dad didn’t give a definitive answer saying he’d like the Dockers to win but he thought the Tigers would ultimately beat them.

As we walked to the game, I though of all the times we’ve done this. All the games we’ve been to. The times Freo had made us laugh and then marvel at them in the space of five minutes. All the brilliant memories that I will never forget. I was hoping that my everlasting memory of Subiaco Oval would be a freo win.

The first quarter started and Freo looked really good. Winning the ball out of the middle, not overusing it, hitting targets, manning up and applying a lot of pressure. The first fifteen or so minutes were all Freo. We kicked 3.4 for the first quarter and us not capitalising on the four behinds we kicked from very getable positions, cost our confidence going into the second quarter. Although Freo were dominating, Richmond still managed to enter their forward 50 and score. The goals they kicked were pretty easy. Their delivery and decision making was sublime and if they play like that in September, they’ll do well. They capitalised on their opportunities and only trailed by four points kicking three goals straight. My observations of the first quarter was that Dusty Martin (who I believe will be the Brownlow medalist) was kept quiet as was Bachar Houli whose run off half back can be deadly when he’s firing and Brandon Ellis who is a personal favourite of mine to watch. I also noticed that towards the end of the first quarter that Freo’s pressure and skill level drops off.

The second, third and fourth quarters of footy were much the same. Richmond kicked 8.2 to Freo’s 0.1 in the second term to blow away to a seven goal lead. I knew that Freo would find it hard to come back and had accepted that Freo were the losers today. Richmond went on to show Freo how to play football at its highest standard and won by 104 points. The players that were quiet in the first quarter exploded and each had 25+ disposals. Dusty is a brilliant footballer and I see him winning the Brownlow then leaving Richmond chasing the money.

Every dark cloud has its silver lining and Sunday’s silver lining was Harley Bennell’s return to footy with two first quarter goals. For his successful return (minus the result) he’s the recipient of the Hot Coales award.

Ultimately, my Subiaco part of my footy story had a very sad ending. I’ll never forget my favourite moments at Subi. Derbies, finals, farewells, good games of footy and good times. Thanking a Stadium seems odd but a ‘thank you’ seems fair for a place where I spent many of my pre-teen weekends. It’s sad to see Subi go but hopefully Freo can move on to bigger and better things at the new Perth Stadium. Until next year, Go Freo!

FREMANTLE 3.4. 3.5. 5.8. 7.9. (51)

RICHMOND 3.0. 11.2. 18.5. 25.5. (155)

RICHMOND: Townsend 6; Riewoldt 4; Butler, Lambert 3; Martin 2; Rioli, McIntosh, Nankervis, Rance
FREMANTLE: Crozier, Bennel 2; Ballantyne, Deluca, Fyfe

RICHMOND: Martin, Townsend, Ellis, Grigg, Houli, Riewoldt, Lambert
FREMANTLE: Fyfe, Mundy, Darcy, Bennell, S. Hill


P.S: Sorry I haven’t written much this season. School’s work load has increased and I have been struggling with some personal issues. Footy has been an escape for this. Thank you all for understanding. Go Freo!

About Josh Coales

Josh Coales is a 20 year old studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications, majoring in Sports Journalism. Josh is a proud West Australian and Fremantle Dockers diehard.

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