Round 3 – West Coast v Fremantle: the west is whose?

Round 3 – West Coast v Fremantle

Domain Stadium, Sunday 20th April

I’m not sure which work experience kid came up with the slogan “The West is Ours” but it ranks up there with the Carlton campaign of a few years ago that used “Can you smell what the Blues are cooking?”.  The two-word review of a Spinal Tap album was the most appropriate response to that slogan.

Apart from probably upsetting Gina Reinhart, who prior to the recent dive in the iron ore price could have bought most of WA, all that slogan seems to have done is annoy Dockers fans, as if they needed an excuse to be annoyed by the Eagles. One of my favourite responses to the long explanation of the slogan on the West Coast website included a response to this line “many feathers make an eagle” ….. yeah, but it also makes a pillow. And pillows were what the Eagles offered up in the first term on Sunday.

As I sat in my local watching derby 41, the derby that brought the win loss margin back to 1 for the first time since 1995, I noted again that there were few nerves in watching this game, not unlike the Geelong game the week before. The Eagles are missing almost a third of their first choice 22 with players like Darling, Selwood, McKenzie, Brown and the lesser Ellis missing. They’ve also lost Waters and Cox in the off-season, strangely enough for West Coast this was due to retirement and not incarceration.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of talent out on the park for the Eagles and plenty coming through. Gaff, Naitanui, Priddis, Kennedy, Le Cras and Hurn are quality players. The second rung includes some handy types in Sheppard, McGovern, Masten, Shuey, plus some good kids in Lamb, Sheed and Duggan. But they seem to lack a damaging creative on baller, a Judd type who through sheer will power will take the ball and tell his team mates “come with me”. The spate of man buns at the Eagles (Masten, Schofield, Wellingham) points to the lack of this old style footy player. Fyfe thankfully put his away after Round 1; I’m sure Sandilands had a quiet word.

And so it was, for the second time this season I sat watching a team that used to make me concerned about my tipping when playing Freo, but for the second time I did not feel at all nervous. People talk of Ross-teoporosis at Freo this year due to the old blokes, but I think it’s more like vaLyon such is the calming effect on game day. You just know that the Dockers will hit every contest hard.

The first quarter was a dream. Nine goals two! They were flowing from everywhere, Zac Clarke was taking mark after mark (he ended with 10 for the day), Tabs was up and about taking pressure off Pav. And the midfield …… what a midfield. You forget that Barlow is part of it nowadays with Neale, Mundy, Fyfe, Pearce x 2, Hill and Suban all rotating through it. Looking at Peel Thunder you see that there is quality not getting game time in Mzungu and some kids like Blakely and Weller.

Let’s face it the game was done and dusted by the time NicNat ran down Johno to set up their first goal. All that mattered from then on was injuries, and in that matter the Dockers escaped unscathed.

This is a great time to be a Dockers supporter, all those years of disappointment and inconsistency have been replaced by a team where everyone knows the game plan and the kids are getting proper time to develop before coming in to the seniors. I remember when Thursday night was when you’d see 6 players out and 6 in on the team changes. Now if more than one change is made it’s an exception.

As the sea of yellow flags waved in the ever dwindling crowd and the game ground to a halt in a flurry of junk time goals to West Coast, I cast my mind to the following week’s game against the Swans. That will be a true test of Freo and how far they have come. The Swannies have looked like they have a point to prove after last year’s grand final, just as Freo do after last year’s double bagel exit.

West Coast is experiencing what Freo did for its first decade, a win one week against a fellow struggling contender, then thrashed the next. And I for one couldn’t think of a team I’d rather see this happen to than them ….. and their marketing department.

WEST COAST         0.4   3.5    6.7    12.9  (81)

FREMANTLE           9.2  14.5  16.7   17.9  (111)


West Coast: LeCras 5, Hill 2, Naitanui 2, Wellingham, Kennedy, McGinnity

Fremantle: Hill 3, Neale 3, Taberner 3, Walters 3, Clarke 2, Mayne 2, D. Pearce


  1. Bit harsh there Steve. The marketing guys at the Eagles are remarkably prescient economic forecasters. Iron ore at $50 a tonne. 70% of our tax revenue going to other states. Mid tier miners shutting down operations and laying off staff weekly.
    “The West is Ours” – has there ever been a more apt slogan for the cupboard is bare and we have been living in the past?
    Enjoy the ride with your boys this year. I’ll barrack for you every time you play Essendon.

  2. Steve Johnston says

    Harsh but fair. I mean why can’t they get a decent alliteration like Freo? ForeverFreo was the result of one of those Hollow Men style think tank retreats with multiple whiteboards and yoga balls. Why not put these forward at the next WCE AGM.

    #EnjoyEagles (maybe infinging on Coke there …. but that in itself presents a clever marketing ploy)

    Problem solved, the bill is in the mail

  3. Blaire Tamblyn says

    Well I never thought I would agree with Stevie J, but here you have it.

    Not sure about the comments relating to hair, given Stevie’s basic bowl style cut – but other than that a succinct, and amusing view on the WCE marketing strategy vs their potential this year.

    On this I’m with you Stevie – stuff the Eagles and their “The West is ours”, pretty sure the round 2 result has proven that this is simply NO LONGER TRUE!!

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