In the 25th anniversary of West Coast's first premiership, the Eagle Eye recounts the Eagles historic 1992 season.
1992 ROUND 3: METROPOLIS SIX SINKS SAINTS
Rookie Daniel Metropolis made a stunning AFL debut to lead West Coast to their first win of the season over St.Kilda. The Eagles first selection from the 1991 National Draft kicked six goals, including four in the opening term, as the Eagles secured a 33 point win.
Shocked by a three-point loss to the lowly Swans in Round 2, the Eagles made a raft of forced and unforced changes. With Peter Sumich still suspended and Brett Heady sidelined during the week, Karl Langdon and Paul Peos were brought in along with Metropolis to improve the forward line firepower, while Paul Harding made his club debut, replacing Dean Irving who was severely outpointed against the Swans.
Harding’s omission against the Swans was a surprise and his impact was instant as the Eagles midfield took full control of the stoppages. John Worsfold was a surprise starter in the centre square but it gave the Eagles a harder edge for the contest than they had against the Swans, winning the centre clearances 7-1 in the opening term.
While Malthouse had been willing to throw his side around in response to the poor performance the week before, the biggest shock came from the opposition when they selected Dale Kickett for his Saints debut. Kickett had been drafted by the Saints in the off-season, but had opted to stay in Western Australia to continue his career with Claremont.
The Saints though included him in their side to tackle West Coast, despite the fact Kickett hadn’t even stepped inside Moorabbin, let alone met any of his new teammates. Kickett ultimately played against the Eagles, who had delisted him after just one season at the end of 1990. Kickett was one of the Saints best with 21 disposals and two goals, but his return to AFL football paled in comparison to the arrival of Metropolis.
Metropolis had put his name forward for selection after a nine-goal haul in a practice match against Sydney in the pre-season, but no-one at the ground including Saints coach Ken Shelden or defender Craig Davenport could have anticipated his blazing start.
Metropolis booted his first goal 40 seconds into the game after a strong mark on the lead at the edge of the 50m arc. Before the quarter was done, the rookie had booted three more, with his first four kicks in the AFL all resulting in majors. Paul Peos had booted the Eagles fifth for the term, and West Coast had stormed to a 28 point quarter-time lead.
Questioned after the previous week’s loss, the match committee selections were all working in the Eagles favour. Andrew Lockyer returned to the line up to mind Saints superstar forward Tony Lockett and Dwayne Lamb finished as one of the leading ball-winners for the Eagles with 25. Lockett had booted ten goals in the opening two weeks of the season, and while he finished this game with four, his influence in the forward line was minimal.
Glen Jakovich contained Stewart Loewe, and with ruck Paul Harding dropping back to fill the space, St.Kilda struggled to score with their two main avenues well held. At the other end, Metropolis booted his fifth early in the 2nd quarter, as historians started making comparisons to Essendon great John Coleman’s debut bag of 12.
Ken Sheldon finally made the change, moving Jayson Daniels onto Metropolis and switching Davenport onto Peos. Metropolis could only manage one more goal for the afternoon, but Peos stepped up during the second half, with the unlikely duo combining for 10 goals.
Sheldon’s moves stemmed the Eagles charge after quarter time, but many of the Eagles midfielders were winning the battle against their Saints opponents. Chris Lewis was displaying his best 1990 form despite the close checking tag of Stephen Newport, Craig Turley was finding plenty of the ball after a disappointing showing against Sydney and Dean Kemp was also prolific through the centre.
The Saints though managed to stay within reaching distance of West Coast, mainly on the back of the individual performances of Nicky Winmar across half-forward, and the miserly defence of Danny Frawley who was shutting down Karl Langdon.
Winmar, in his 100th game, finished with two goals from 18 disposals and provided the highlight of the day for St.Kilda with a spectactular aerial mark over Chris Waterman.
The Saints had held West Coast after quarter time, and when they booted the opening goal of the final term, the margin was just 18 points. The Eagles finally broke the Saints defensive resistance with four quick goals, two of which were kicked by Chris Lewis after Mick Malthouse moved him to full forward.
The win levelled the Eagles season to 1-1 and snuck them back inside the top six ahead of a visit from the Cats.
Match Details Sunday 5 April 1992
West Coast 5.6 8.8 12.12 16.17 (113)
St.Kilda 1.2 6.5 9.6 12.8 (80)
Subiaco Oval Attendance: 30,428
Best: WCE D Metropolis, C Turley, C Lewis, P Peos, D Kemp, D Lamb, P Harding
STK D Frawley, N Winmar, D Greig, A Fletcher, D Kickett, J Daniels
Goals: WCE D Metropolis 6, P Peos 4, C Lewis 2, S Watters, P Matera, K Langdon, D Kemp.
STK T Lockett 4, S Clark 3, D Kickett, N Winmar 2, D Flanigan.
Brownlow: 3. C. Turley (WCE)
2. P. Peos (WCE)
1. C. Lewis (WCE)