One by one they filed onto the stage at Crown’s Grand Ballroom.

Each of them bearing the scars of life. Some from simply being 30 years older, some the remnants of fruitful football careers at the elite level. Glory rarely comes without a price.

As members of the West Coast Eagles’ 1994 premiership team were ushered on stage to a rousing reception, the gathered throng of more than 800 people lauded blue and gold heroes from three decades ago.

Dean Kemp, the Norm Smith medallist in that 80-point romp over Geelong at the MCG, smoothly gliding across the ground, changing direction on a five cent piece and exquisitely hitting Peter Sumich lace out.

It was more of a shuffle to the stage than an effortless glide, but the image in the recesses of one’s mind was that of the lean, deft 25-year-old who was captivating when at the peak of his on field powers.


Ashley McIntosh, the archetypal swingman who was equally adept as a key forward or back, had dodgy knees even in his prime and he remains as laconic and cruisy as he was back then.

The mullet that was his trademark – along with his blinding speed – has long since gone south but Peter Matera remains so distinguishable and carries a certain aura.

David Hart, the boy from Bruce Rock, one of the celebrated stories of the club’s second premiership after missing the 1992 triumph through injury, has also trimmed back the bouncing, shoulder length locks. But his cheek and verve remain at full throttle.

Then there was David Hynes, a charismatic and sometimes volatile individual, who was so loved by his peers. Like Hart he missed out two years earlier and was warmly embraced by his teammates when he finally experienced the elation of premiership success.

Ryan Turnbull, Drew Banfield and Jason Ball, who also savoured premiership ecstasy for the first time in 1994, were there. Unfortunately, Shane Bond could not make it because of commitments in his home town of Adelaide.

Undoubtedly most people in the room allowed their minds to drift back to the glorious era this group represented; reminiscing about the deeds of these (once) young men who put our football club on the map.

Of the blissfully talented Chris Lewis, dodging and weaving, Peter Wilson huffing and puffing and overflowing with energy, of Tony Evans the consummate big game performer. He was made for finals footy. Especially grand finals. He lacked speed, couldn’t jump but could get the footy and seized moments at pivotal times.

Of Guy McKenna and Glen Jakovich, superstars who might be even better in today’s game. The uncompromising Michael Brennan, the upright gait of the highly skilled Don Pyke and the versatility of Chris Waterman. This was some team.

Sadly, at times like this we also reflect on a large piece of this team’s tapestry that is missing. The effervescent Chris Mainwaring, taken way too soon.   

Led by Mick Malthouse and John Worsfold, a fearsome combination of coach and captain. Both revered so wholly this was a complete outfit. An uncompromising, single-minded machine.

Malthouse moulded this talented team into a feared and ruthless outfit. No one was more feared than Worsfold. He was the personification of one of the great teams in football history.

It was an afternoon that conjured so many great memories. When you could do so freely. Eagles fans are often accused of living in the past – this is why we go there.

It was another poignant reminder that if you don’t know where you have come from you won’t know where you’re going.  

(If you haven’t already, watch the first of a three episode documentary created by the club’s production team).