The West Coast Hobgoblins


West Coast Eagles versus Gold Coast Suns

5.40pm, Saturday May 16

Domain Stadium, Perth


by Phil Smythe


I was going to be in Japan for a few weeks and would miss the Eagles home game against the Suns. Pity not to get to what looked like an easy win, given all the Suns’ problems and injuries. Luckily though I had a mate who lives in Tokyo, so I could watch it at his place. Or so I thought. He’d had live games for a number of years, but every so often often the service that delivered it would either change, cease or stop showing AFL. This turned out to be one of those times.


But he knew an alternative, the Hobgoblin Bar in Roppongi. Roppongi is Tokyo’s version of Melbourne’s St Kilda, Sydney’s King’s Cross or most famously Perth’s sleazy Northbridge. Full of bars, nightclubs and restaurants. The Hobgoblin Bar is also the unofficial headquarters of the Tokyo Goannas, the local AFL team made up of mostly ageing expats plus a few keen locals.


So my mate, Jim, booked us a table for 10 which included him and his Japanese wife and two  kids, his Japanese brother-in-law and his wife, his brother (who just happened to be visiting from Australia also) with his girlfriend and step-daughter and finally me. This table booking also allowed him to specify what we could see on the big screen. Hobgoblin Bar is essentially a sports bar showing non-Japanese sport from around the world.


We arrived there about an hour before bounce down and there was a Super 14 rugby game on. However we were assured this finished before the Eagles/Suns match began. Sure enough as soon as the rugby was over the footy came on. This caused a groan from other non-Japanese types in the pub who hadn’t booked, but had expected to watch some English Premier League. Lesson leaned by them.


I’d brought along a little expandable ‘Go Eagles’ banner which had been a giveaway at an Eagles match last year. I gave it to Jim’s youngest son, Luke, and told him to jump up and down with it every time the Eagles scored a goal. Jim’s kids have lived all their lives in Japan and love baseball and soccer and really have no idea about Aussie Rules. So when the Eagles got an early goal Luke had no idea what had happened and had to be told to leap up, unfurl the banner, and wave it around furiously.


Though it was wet in Perth the Eagles got on top quickly and it was obvious that they would win, though probably in a low scoring affair given the conditions. The first quarter was three goals to one, confirming that thought. However after quarter time they powered away, scoring eighteen goals to five. This goal avalanche was good for Eagles supporters like Jim and I, but a nightmare for young Luke. Nineteen times he had to jump up and parade the ‘Go Eagles’ banner. By three-quarter time he could hardly raise his arms, they were cooked! Older brother Josh, who had spent the entire evening playing games on his phone, was reluctantly subbed in to finish off the night.


While all this was going on the waitress had come up and asked us a few times when the match would be ending. She’d had numerous queries from others in the pub, presumably Poms, when this aerial ping pong rubbish would be over so they could watch some real ‘football’. If only they’d bothered to watch a rampaging Eagles outfit they’d have been converted and given up the round ball code for the oval one.


With the soccer types now taking over our table and TV all but me, Jim and his brother decided to head home. The three of us moved on from Hobgoblin and braved the Nigerian touts who proliferate in Roppongi to find a quietish bar where we could dissect the game and work out if we should start planning to book tickets for an Eagles/Dockers Grand Final. But maybe that was the Japnese beer talking?


West Coast: 3.1 7.6 19.6 21.9 (135)

Gold Coast: 1.1 1.2 2.6 6.7 (43)



WCE; Kennedy 4, Yeo 4, LeCras 3, Priddis 2, Cripps, Shuey, Gaff, Sinclair, McInnes

GCS; Matera 2, Bennell, Dixon, Prestia, Rischitelli



WCE; Yeo, Priddis, Gaff, Shuey, Wellingham

GCS; Bennell, Rischitelli, Prestia, Nicholls


Umpires: Margetts, B Ryan, H Ryan



Lifelong supporter of the Perth Football Club and West Coast Eagles supporter since their entry into the VFL/AFL.


  1. The Wrap says

    Did you watch The Gieshas rolled Our Gels at the Hobgoblin Bar too Phil? The 87th minute! What a blow.

    Those Eagles are looking the goods. Could easily go all the way.

  2. Pottering says

    Missed the Geishas, but caught the Samurai V Ninjas clash though.

  3. Good one Phil. Keep spreading the word. Maybe you can get Yoshi down to the Hobgoblin Bar so he can see how a good team plays.

Leave a Comment