In the 25th anniversary of West Coast's first premiership, the Eagle Eye recounts the Eagles historic 1992 season.
West Coast made it consecutive wins against fellow finals aspirants when they outlasted Carlton by 24 points at Princes Park.
A week after demolishing the Bulldogs at home, the Eagles went toe-to-toe with the Blues for three quarters, before a six goal final term secured consecutive wins for the first time in 1992.
The Eagles were once again forced to make changes, with Michael Brennan ruled out following the win over Footscray, and Guy McKenna a late withdrawal after failing a fitness test on his groin. Later scans would show McKenna would require surgery, sidelining the running defender for at least a month.
Peter Sumich returned as the replacement for Brennan, while Tony Evans was the last minute inclusion for McKenna. Evans made his debut in the opening round of 1991, but after playing the following week, was unable to break into a side that stormed their way to the Grand Final.
Carlton also were forced to make two changes to the side that defeated Collingwood, in what was the Magpies’ 100th year celebrations. Adrian Gleeson was suspended for two weeks for striking Tony Shaw, while Mark Athorn was ruled out with injury. The Blues recalled Brett Ratten and defender Paul McCormack.
For West Coast, the inclusions of Sumich and Evans proved to be a masterstroke, with the two players combining for 9 of West Coast’s 15 goals for the afternoon. At the other end, Stephen Silvagni played a lone hand for Carlton, booting 8 of Carlton’s 11 goals for the afternoon.
The Blues had been forced to use Silvagni forward this season due to an ongoing ankle problem, but still proved to be too much for Mitchell White with Michael Brennan missing. Stephen Kernahan was held goalless by Glen Jakovich, while Earl Spalding had a shocker in front of goal, finishing with 0.5.
Played on a heavy track after a deluge of rain during the week, the two sides slugged it out, with the lead changing hands 13 times. The two teams couldn’t be split at the first change, although the Eagles poor kicking had kept Carlton in the contest. The visitors booted 2.6 in the opening term, with Stephen Silvangi booting the Blues only three goals of the first quarter.
Mitchell White was moved off the Blues full-forward at quarter time, but Silvagni continued his dominance kicking a further two goals in five minutes opposed to Ashley McIntosh. John Worsfold was also given a stint, before Malthouse reverted back to White for the second half.
While Silvagni was causing problems for the Eagle match committee deep in the Carlton forward line, many of the other key Carlton players were being successfully shut down.
Dwayne Lamb followed Carlton midfielder Greg Williams, and whilst the playmaker still gathered 25 disposals, Lamb was deemed best on ground by the umpires. Dean Kemp went head to head with Craig Bradley and Dean Laidley had the better of Ron De Iulio and Luke O’Sullivan stepping in for McKenna across half-back.
The Eagles lost Brett Heady in the opening quarter to a recurrence of his hamstring, but that introduced Evans into the forward line, with the third-gamer having an immediate influence. Evans was dynamic in the forward line and Sumich replaced McIntosh at full-forward which had the effect of straightening the Eagles up.
Carlton took a narrow two point lead into the main change, and came out the better side after half-time. However, like West Coast in the first quarter, the Blues didn’t get reward on the scoreboard kicking an inaccurate 2.8. Earl Spalding was the main culprit kicking four behinds in the quarter, including three successive shots.
West Coast managed four majors for the quarter to head into the final term with a four point lead and Sumich would prove the difference in the final term. The Eagle full forward kicked three goals in the last quarter to double his tally, while the Blues were unable to find an avenue to goal, with Silvagni finally subdued.
For Mick Malthouse the win was justification for his side, after counterpart David Parkin admitted during the week that playing the Eagles in the rain would benefit his side.
“To beat a proven side like Carlton, who are well coached, on their home ground is pleasing.”
The result would also add confidence to a group who had had their recent struggles at Princes Park. Despite winning 19 of 22 home and away games in 1991, the Eagles lost two matches at the ground against Carlton and Fitzroy, with both matches played in sodden conditions.
“We’d been hearing that the conditions were tailor-made for Carlton so it was important we got over the state of the ground.”
The win lifted the Eagles to eighth on the ladder, only half a game outside the top six, with winnable games to come against Adelaide and North Melbourne.
Match Details Saturday 16 May 1992
West Coast 2.6 5.10 9.12 15.16 (106)
Carlton 3.0 6.6 8.14 11.16 (82)
Princes Park Attendance: 19,077
Best: WCE D Lamb, P Sumich, G Jakovich, T Evans, P Matera, D Kemp, D Laidley
CAR S Silvagni, F Brown, E Spalding, G Williams, T Alvin, B Ratten
Goals: WCE P Sumich 6, T Evans 3, K Langdon 2, G Jakovich, C Turley, S Watters, T Ugle.
CAR S Silvagni 8, T Alvin, R De Iulio, F Brown.
Brownlow: 3. D.Lamb (WCE)
2. S.Silvagni (CAR)
1. F.Brown (CAR)