The Western Derby is a couple of days away and it may only be one game this year due to the virus, but it should still be celebrated in Season 2020.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the first derby following the Dockers debut in the AFL Competition and there have been matches that truly typified the intensity of the rivalry West Coast and Fremantle have built over the years.
On the eve of Western Derby No.51 on Sunday, we count down five of the truly great Western Derbies.
5. ROUND 7, 1995
How appropriate we start at the start, Round 7 of the 1995 Season, the first game at the redeveloped Subiaco Oval and 41,000 WA Football fans usher in for what feels like a real Grand Final atmosphere for the first ever Western Derby.
The Dockers had won 3 from 6 and were going along quite nicely, while the Eagles had a large quantity of their 94 Premiership team in action with Worsfold, Peter Matera, Evans, Heady & more.
And the experience would bring a huge win, Brett Heady had a field day up forward with five goals and John Worsfold led from the front and showed Fremantle who Perth belongs to.
4. ROUND 6, 2018
1995 was the first derby at the new Subiaco Oval, we go to another first – round 6 of season 2018 – the first Derby for the beautiful Optus Stadium.
With 58,000 people cheering the teams on, it was a game to remember as the Dockers overcame a nervous start to the term to kick four goals to one and take a 20-point lead to the first change.
But the biggest story of the quarter was star forward Michael Walters clutching at his left knee, the one in which he suffered a posterior cruciate ligament injury last year.
It would hurt them when they most needed goals at the other end of the match.
The Eagles however held on through the work of Lycett in the ruck and Andrew Gaff collecting 32 touches.
3. ROUND 18, 2011
This game will forever be remembered for THAT KICK after the siren.
A controversial deliberate out-of-bounds call gave Hayden Ballantyne a chance to win the game after the siren.
The pint-sized Docker hit the post and West Coast escaped with a 1-point win.
The Dockers booted two goals to one in the opening quarter but were soon on the back foot as West Coast made their charge, with goals from Matt Priddis and Kennedy handing the ascendancy to the Eagles.
Come the end of the match, Matt Rosa was pinned for Deliberate out of bounds and Ballantyne got the chance to be the hero, if only the post didn’t get in the way.
2. ROUND 6, 2006
Both the Eagles and Dockers were into the top 8 come the first Derby of 2006.
In fact it was days after the siren-gate controversy in Tasmania that initially robbed Fremantle of the points, until the Wednesday after the game.
The 42,000 crammed into Subiaco Oval for a cracker of a Derby, and the highlight wasn’t just Paul Haselby kicking the match winner with minutes to go, but Chris Judd’s overall performance, rated as one of the best solo efforts.
By halftime his possession count was 23 and would only have 10 more, but controversially won the Glendinning Medal to a chorus of boos.
But the performances of Pavlich and Carr was enough to steer the Dockers home in a nail biting contest.
1. ROUND 21, 2000
Known as the “Demolition Derby”, the Round 21 clash in Season 2000 brought the Subiaco crowd to their feet like never before, although it’ll be more remembered for the brawls that left 16 players from both teams booked.
A career ending match for Dale Kickett, the game symbolised the toughness and boiling passion of both the sides in any Western Derby.
West Coast led at every change, but a big final term from the Dockers saw them take the lead late in the match and hold on for a narrow victory, led by Clive Waterhouse who booted 7 goals to steer them home in what is unarguably the greatest Western Derby in History.