Round 5 – West Coast v Greater Western Sydney: Royal Command Performance

The first quarter was the sort of tight, hard running game we were all expecting.  Eagles winning the tough stuff inside, and the young Giants running hard on the outside.  The Eagles led by 4 points and it looked like a close contest.

But everything changed at quarter time with the announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge had delivered another heir to the House of Rinehart.  We all looked to the throne room/corporate box where Queen Gina gave the thumbs down and the massacre was on.  The Centrelink Giants failed the work test and didn’t trouble the flag wavers in the second term, with the Regal Eagles leading by 5 goals at the long break.

We all joined hands in the stands for a rousing chorus of “Land of Hope and Glory” and discussed the merits of a good old fashioned thrashing.  Josh Kennedy took out the cane and delivered six of the best to the rumps of the pimply youths in white.

The Giants had left their team uniforms back in Penrith but they found a job lot of circa 1967 walk shorts, long white sox and bri-nylon safari jackets in a Vinnies Op Shop.  They looked like the chorus line from Les Girls.  The White Shoe Brigade?

The game reminded me of the Fremantle Derby in reverse with one side totally dominant, monstering the other with bigger bodies and relentless tackling pressure.  Simmo has had the Eagles on the Bullworker chest expander and now we were the ones kicking sand in the faces of the skinny kids.

Bullworker Peter Shilton

The third quarter was dour but we let them kick one goal and only led by 50 points at the last change.  That was when Prince Harry joined the Avenging Eagle and myself in the Royal Box for a Royal Variety Performance in the last quarter.

Prince Harry Eagles Almanac Correspondent (left) with Avenging Eagle (right) explaining AFL to English 457 migrant worker

Six goals to one point in the last quarter and the home crowd rose to applaud the best Eagles display since 2012.  Shades of John Lennon circa 1963

“For our last number I’d like to ask your help.  Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands?  And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”


The Bulldogs Formline.  When we narrowly lost a hard running first game at Etihad I thought it was two strugglers making each other look good.  But the form from that game has stood up well other than their mauling by the Hawks and ours by the Dockers.  Suggests we can be competitive against all but the elite teams, particularly here at Buckingham Palace.

Jeremy Who and Sunshine Eclipsed.  I bought into the hype about the young Giants forwards but they were totally eclipsed by Jeremy McGovern and Will Schofield.  McCarthy took a good mark for the Giants first goal and after that you wouldn’t have known he was out there.  Cameron doesn’t work hard enough to present and has a bit of the spoiled brat/lair about him.  He took a mark 20 metres out in the third quarter when the Giants were trying to rally.  Instead of taking the easy set shot he immediately played on and hooked it over his shoulder for a point.  By contrast the real King Jeremy does everything well and is rarely beaten in a contest.  Phil Davis played Kennedy from behind all night and got toweled up.  McGovern plays in front and backs his ability to read the flight of passes better than the leading forward.  When he can’t mark he contests and keeps the ball in front of him.  His cat-like reflexes, balance, awareness and passing skills are as impressive as his marking.

Nic Nait News.  The ferocious Fijian is a man reborn with more on-ball time and the responsibility of leading our rucks and midfield.  In the past big Mummy has troubled him with his body work, but tonight Nic Nait just jumped over the top of him.  His tackling was ferocious and he is getting better at knowing how and when to run forward, kicking two important second quarter goals.  Callum Sinclair had his first game of the year as our second ruck, and his mobility and rugged contests were a big improvement on those from Lycett in recent weeks.

On Field Leadership.  Kennedy, Naitanui and Priddis are human wrecking balls who set the standard for competitiveness among the Eagles.   Hurn leads a cavalry command with our attack from defence.  Before the game I had thought that the Giants were solidifying with their off-season injection of experience.  On tonight’s showing Griffen and Ward improved the Dogs by leaving.  Heath Shaw bombed long and aimlessly.  Their captain Phil Davis refused to change his game style on Kennedy and spent most of the night complaining to umpires when his scragging from behind was penalized.  Tom Scully is a waste of money and space.  Only Shiel, Smith, Whitfield and Patfull could hold their head up.  After half time the Giants completely lost the plot, fumbled and turned the ball over even when not under pressure.  They play a fast skilful running style but tonight they ran sideways and lacked the leadership and presenting forwards to straighten them up.  Basketballers not footballers.

Mea Culpa.  Sharrod Wellingham played his best game for the Eagles, and Elliot Yeo had a breakout game as a big midfielder.  Master stroke by Simpson to play Wellingham as a running defender.  He doesn’t have the body strength to play as a midfielder and his confidence drops, but tonight he used his speed, footskills and anticipation to cut up the Giants from defence.  Yeo is still only 21 and has also struggled with confidence and where to play him.  Tonight he was BOG to half time playing as a Mundy-style offensive midfielder.  Without the rock of MacKenzie in defence, Simpson has crafted a team defence that plays on at every opportunity and is growing with confidence in their skill at running the ball cleanly out of defence.

Trafalgar or Waterloo?  The Avenging Eagle and I are off to Adelaide next weekend to see my family and take in the Port game at my childhood Field of Dreams (the newly stadiumified Adelaide Oval).  Playing well away is the next big challenge for my emerging Eagles, but they have already wildly exceeded my expectations.  The local wildlife should be interesting.

Her Royal Majesty the Avenging Eagle expects every man to do their duty.


WEST COAST EAGLES                                     4.2   9.4  12.10  18.12 (120)

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY                       3.4   3.4    4.8      4.9 (33)


West Coast: Kennedy 6, Hill 4, Naitanui 2, Shuey 2, Cripps 2, Hurn, Gaff

GWS: Greene 2, McCarthy, Cameron

BEST West Coast: Naitanui, Kennedy, McGovern, Yeo, Wellingham, Schofield, Shuey, (all played well – only one passenger tonight)

GWS: Shiel, Whitfield, Smith, Patfull

Umpires: Farmer, Stephens, Schmitt.

Crowd: 34,554

Votes: Naitanui (WC)3; Kennedy (WC)2; McGovern (WC)1





  1. Neil Anderson says

    Would have thought Prince Harry was a Bulldog supporter with our colors and British emblem on display. Bit wet in Sydney what. He obviously preferred cosying up with you and the Evenging Eagle in Perth.
    Thanks for the tip for Round 1 to back the Bulldog boys. It’s worked in the tipping comp where I’ve picked up points in the last two weeks.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks PB mind you a disapointing performance by GWS thought this would have been a close game , look forward to meeting you this coming week end as we play at
    Bob Neil 1 the home of football ( is the power v eagles game sat arvo ? )

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Entertaining and amusing report, PB.
    Is it too late to get a Bullworker for my man boobs?
    It seems when Sharrod plays well the Eagles win. Or is it that when the Eagles play well Sharrod shines? Wonder what that means?

  4. Neil Anderson says

    Should have said Avenging Eagle but on second thoughts Evenging Eagle has a nice ring to it. It’s my alliteration and I’ll use it if I want to because after Saturday I feel free to do all sorts of outlandish things. Misspelling, bad punctuation…the works!
    Go Dogs!

  5. E.regnans says

    That’s a beauty PB.
    Insightful footy evaluations; behavioural feedback.
    Love it.
    Interesting observation of J Cameron.
    Big fish in a small pond, maybe?
    One to watch.

  6. David Zampatti says

    Having dispensed with powerhouses Caaarlton, Brissy and the Giants, it’s no wonder the jungle drums are beating at the John Kizon end of Subiaco Oval.
    Footy clubs can draw a lot of flack for their marketing slogans, but no-one will object to WCE’s inspired “The Worst are Ours”.
    Port seem to have got their mojo back, but it’s hard to see them troubling this outfit next week.

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Prince Harry a great recruit for the Eagles. Has been ‘best-on-ground’ many times…

  8. Thanks Peter.

    GWS’ 1.5 after quarter time is truly dreadful. Have they watched too many Melbourne videos? But well done to the Eagles.

    Looking forward to your insights into Adelaide Oval.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t become known as the Farmers’ Union Iced Coffee Colosseum.

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