The Home and Away season comes to an end for West Coast

The home and away season has now ended, but before the final series commences, I’ve reflected on the West Coast year with my highs and lows.


The Highs:

1. Round 3 vs Collingwood at MCG – the much-anticipated grand final replay proved to be another exciting encounter and thankfully the final result was somewhat less nail-biting than the last time, with the Eagles prevailing by 22 points. I had to be content with watching the game on TV as I was recuperating at home after surgery, but the result made the sacrifice well worth it.


2. Round 10 vs Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval – it was Indigenous Round, and there was a pre-match   exchange of a boomerang and a shield between the Indigenous players of both teams. The first quarter was pretty even, but then we only scored 1 point in the 2nd, so were 28 points down at half time and seemed destined for a large loss.  Somehow we completely turned the match around in the 2nd half, and kicked 10 goals to Adelaide’s 3, resulting in a very exciting and surprising 12 point win.  The crowd was of course overwhelmingly parochial Crows fans, but what we (the West Coast supporters) lacked in number, we well and truly made up for in voice at the final siren and cheered loudly as the very happy players and coaching staff left the playing arena.


3. Round 15 vs Hawthorn at MCG – Nicnat is BACK!!!! Our champion and much-loved ruckman finally returned to the senior side after recovering from his 2nd ACL injury, albeit on reduced playing minutes, but we could see his presence had immediate impact.  I’m not for one second downplaying the great job that Lycett and Vardy did in 2018, and then Hickey and Vardy have been doing in 2019 (with help from Darling, Allen and even McGovern at times) in Nic’s absence, but he is such an integral part of our team at the moment, and we’ve waited patiently and eagerly for his return.  It was a tight game but with Darling kicking 5 we held on to win by 6 points.


4. Round 16 vs Fremantle at Optus Stadium – this was a Freo home game so the large crowd was majority Dockers supporters. With the Gaff-Brayshaw incident of late 2018 still fresh in their minds, any time Gaff got near the ball we could hear through the broadcast that the booing was pretty intense.  After an evenly matched 1st quarter, the rest of the game well and truly swung our way, and we recorded a thumping 81 point victory.


5. Round 18 vs Melbourne in Alice Springs – I’ve already written about my trip to the Red Centre on the Almanac (ref the “Red Centre Trilogy”) so the only comment to add about this game is just to reiterate how much I enjoyed the grass-roots feeling of this game – sitting on the grass under the tree to watch an AFL match was a first for me, but one that I really enjoyed, and hopefully will get to repeat again one day. The mid-winter trip to the day-time warmth of Alice Springs and Uluru was also a nice chance to temporarily thaw out of the chill of Melbourne.


The Lows:

1. Round 1 vs Brisbane at the Gabba – it’s always nice to travel to Brisbane where the Autumn weather is warm and sunny, and starting the new season as reigning premiers, there was optimism in the air as we headed to the ground on Saturday afternoon. We started strongly with 6 goals to 1 in the first quarter, and everything seemed to be heading in exactly the way we expected, but alas the rest of the game was not at all what we expected.  We could only muster 1 goal in the 2nd quarter, and then we were kept scoreless (not even 1 point) in the 3rd, whilst the surging Lions kicked 14 after quarter time.  Brisbane took the home win by 44 points, and we got a large dose of reality with a reminder that the triumph of 2018 is not an automatic entitlement to success in 2019.  I realised that with the great joy of a premiership comes great expectation, but we came thumping back down to earth at the final siren.


2. Round 5 vs Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium – a home game is one we generally expect to win, but at half-time the score sheet read Port 9.9 (63) to West Coast 2.2 (14), and ALL of our score had been kicked by youngster Jack Petruccelle!!! We scratched back a teensy bit of face by outscoring Port 6 goals to 4 in the 2nd half, but the damage was well and truly done and we lost the game by 42 points.  Petruccelle kicked 5 of our 8 goals.


3. Round 6 vs Geelong at GMHBA Stadium – I’m a “glass half-full” optimist, and don’t like to write off my team before the game has even started, but today I was pretty certain that we weren’t going to win, and so I just hoped for a reasonably close game. Alas, even that didn’t come to pass, and Geelong were all over us, taking a home win by 8 goals.  Two losses in a row this early in the season drops us out of the top 8, with a lot of work to do to have any hope of a chance to defend our premiership title.


4. Round 12 vs Sydney at the SCG – it has been a couple of years since we played at the SCG, and I must admit that its my least favourite footy venue due to its size and the fact that the away cheer squad can’t sit behind the goals. Off we went to the game on Sunday afternoon, ever optimistic that we would be able to break the SCG hoodoo that had lasted for 20 years – the last time we won at the SCG was back in 1999. The 15th placed Swans towelled us up – there’s no other words for it.  They were simply too good in every part of the ground and every moment of the game, and the margin was 45 point with Buddy kicking 5.  OUCH!!!!


5. Round 17 vs Collingwood at Optus Stadium – we lost this game by 1 point, when the Pies came from behind in the last quarter. To add pain to the final result, Nicnat went down with a syndesmosis ankle, and the timing of his return is unknown, but fingers crossed only a few weeks away.  Young gun Jarrod Cameron (brother of Brisbane’s Charlie) was exciting with another 4 goal haul (he got 4 in Round 16), and Darling added 3 to his season tally of 36, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough.


6. Round 23 vs Hawthorn at Optus Stadium – after last week’s MCG loss, the final match at home provided us the chance to secure a spot in the top 4, although where exactly that would be would depend on other results. But right from the outset, the Hawks had it over us, and the game quickly slipped out of reach to a final margin of 38 points.  With the other results, we have ended the season in 5th place so face an Elimination Final at home in week 1 of September.


There’s a week and a bit to regroup and refocus, and then it is Finals.  Fingers crossed!!!



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