AFL 2 years ago

WC30 Biggest Moments: 25-21

  • WC30 Biggest Moments: 25-21

    PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 17: The coach of West Coast John Worsfold (L) looks on as Chris Judd announces his departure from the Eagles during a West Coast Eagles AFL press conference at Subiaco Oval on September 17, 2007 in Peth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

With West Coast celebrating their 30th year in the AFL competition, The Eagle Eye are counting down the top 30 moments, games, highs and lows in club history.

Here is 25-21.

25. West Coast Held to Just One Goal Against Essendon

One of the darkest days on the field for West Coast was in Round 15 of 1989, when they were humiliated by 142 points against Essendon, booting just one goal for the afternoon.

The loss remains their largest defeat in club history and their lowest score, but from the ashes of that defeat came the building blocks of the decade of success that lay ahead.

10 of the 20 players that took the field that day would play in the 1992 premiership, as the harsh lessons of the day lay the foundations for the decisions made at the end of the 1989 season that would prove decisive.

John Worsfold, Michael Brennan, Dwayne Lamb. Chris Mainwaring, Peter Sumich, Craig Turley, Guy McKenna, Karl Langdon, Chris Waterman and Chris Lewis – who was the Eagle’s sole goal kicker – all took part in the 25.10 (160) to 1.12 (18) demolition.

While the performance itself was dismal, the Eagles bounced back to win five of their last seven games in the season after just two wins in the opening 15 weeks, and lift themselves from the bottom of the ladder. It would prove a catapult to important decisions being made off the field and a finals campaign in 1990. 

24. 1998 Round 10 Comeback v. Western Bulldogs

At quarter time of the Eagles game against the top-of-the-ladder Bulldogs, many fans may have been contemplating an early exit from the WACA. West Coast were eight goals down, as the Bulldogs ran riot to lead 8.4 to 0.4 at the first change.

What followed was a remarkable second quarter that saw West Coast head into the major break with a one point lead. The Eagles matched the Bulldogs opening quarter effort to boot eight goals, while keeping the Bulldogs goalless.

Chad Morrison, Fraser Gehrig and Ben Cousins were the architects of the comeback and the charge continued in the early stages of the third quarter. West Coast booted the first three after half-time, to make it 11 straight in the game, before the Bulldogs finally ended the streak through Paul Hudson.

From there the game became a tussle, with West Coast holding on for a 13 point victory. Chad Morrison booted four goals, while Fraser Gehrig and Paul Symmons finished with three. Mitchell White was another who was influential across half-forward, although he was wayward with his kicking, finishing with 1.5.

The win made it three on the trot for West Coast, after a poor start to the season had seen the Eagles lose four games on the trot from Rounds 4-7. However, West Coast never got the season completely back on track, and losses in the final two weeks to St.Kilda and Adelaide dropped the Eagles to 7th at the close of the home and away season. Drawn against the Bulldogs again in the opening week, West Coast would suffer their worst ever finals loss to be eliminated.


23. A Favourite Son Returns

At the end of the 2001 season, West Coast were at the crossroads. Ken Judge had just been sacked after two dismal seasons as coach, with the final round loss to Port Adelaide by 112 points the last straw.

With many of the superstars of the 1990’s at the end of their careers, and a bevy of draft picks in prior few years not developing, West Coast were after a new direction – and found it with a club icon.

John Worsfold had spent two years as an assistant coach at Carlton under David Parkin, and as the candidates for the Eagles senior coaching role was whittled away, it came down to Neil Craig and Worsfold.

The Dockers had also been interviewing Worsfold for the role, after Damien Drum had been sacked midway through the 2001 season. West Coast, however, pounced on their former captain, offering Worsfold the role that would prove to be a morale-boost.

It would also be a welcome return for a favourite son, after Worsfold’s playing days met an inglorious end. Worsfold’s career was ended in 1998 when he was dropped by then coach Mick Malthouse on the morning of the Elimination Final against the Bulldogs, which West Coast duly lost.

The appointment of Worsfold would prove to be a success, as he held the role for 12 seasons, winning one premiership in 2006, as well as a Grand Final appearance in 2005. All up, the Eagles would make finals in nine of the twelve seasons he coached, and ‘Woosha’ would finish his tenure with the most games as coach in Eagle history.

22. Chris Judd traded to Carlton

It always seemed a matter of when Chris Judd would return to his native Victoria, not if, and the fated decision came following the close of the 2007 season.

Having been picked at Number 3 in the 2001 draft, Judd made an immediate impact the following season, and in just his third season of AFL football, won the highest individual accolade of the Brownlow Medal.

Judd’s influence at the club was telling, leading a star-studded midfield that included the likes of Ben Cousins, Daniel Kerr, Andrew Embley, Chad Fletcher and Michael Braun.

At the start of the 2006 season, Judd took over the captaincy and became the Eagles second premiership captain later that season. However, after West Coast were bundled out of the 2007 finals series in straight sets, Judd announced that he would be returning home.

What followed was a bidding war for the AFL’s marquee player, with four clubs – Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon and Melbourne – all vying for his services. In an unprecedented move, Judd essentially interviewed each club before settling on the Blues, which he felt was the best move for both himself and the Eagles in facilitating a trade.

Ultimately, Judd would switch to Carlton, with the Blues giving up Josh Kennedy to West Coast, as well as the number three pick – which the Eagles used to secure Chris Masten – in the highest profile trade in club history.

21. Death of Chris Mainwaring

Throughout the 2007 season, speculation was rife about the off-field activities of many of the Eagle players at the club. It all came to a head though, when former player Chris Mainwaring was found dead following a drug overdose.

Mainwaring had been with close friend Ben Cousins the day before his death and initially refused medical attention, before being found deceased a little while later in the early hours of October 1.

Mainwaring played 203 games with the club, was a dual premiership player, runner up in the best and fairest on three occasions, and was generally one of the most popular players during his career.

An inaugural squad member in 1987, Mainwaring was the one of the most dynamic wingmen of his time, and forged a starring partnership with Peter Matera. Unfortunately for Mainwaring, his last few years at the club were dogged by injury, with the wingman requiring a knee reconstruction after his knee buckled against Geelong in Round 2, 1997. Such was the severity of his injury, it would take until Round 20 in 1998 for Mainwaring to return to the Eagles.

Mainwaring would only play eight more games with the club though, before retiring at the end of the 1999 season. He remained a popular personality in the Perth media, before his death in 2007.

Mainwaring’s death would be the wake-up call that West Coast needed, and what followed was the most intense investigation, which would alter the club's destiny. 


30. Nic  Naitanui Winner After the Siren Rd 8 2013

29. Glen Jakovich Retires

28. West Coast End Brisbane Streak

27. 1999 Qualifying Final v. Western Bulldogs

26. Peter Matera Leaves... Then Stays

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