In 33 years the West Coast Eagles have had a 17-16 win/loss record in round two matches. They’ve played in round two at 12 different venues across every state except Queensland and against every opposition except Fremantle, Gold Coast, North Melbourne and Richmond.
There have been a multitude of highlights, some significant debuts and milestones, a coaching oddity. And more.
Ten of the Best
In Round 2, 2015 against Carlton at Subiaco Oval Josh Kennedy had a day out, kicking 10 goals in a 69-point win. It came on a Friday night and was one of just eight double-figure bags in club history.
He kicked seven consecutive Eagles goals across the second and third quarters and six goals in the third quarter.
His half dozen in the third term was just shy of equalling the club record for most goals in a quarter. Peter Sumich holds that mantle after bagging seven majors during the third term on his way to 13 goals in a 118-point hammering of the Bulldogs in round 13, 1991.
Certainly, Liam Duggan, 2018 premiership player, will remember the Kennedy haul well, and will have a good idea of the enormity of his achievement.
Why? It was Duggan’s AFL debut. And after playing his 86th game in round one this year he has a career tally of nine goals.
Kennedy kicked 10.1, falling just one point short of matching the entire Carlton score of 10.2 (62).
A Caretaker Coach
Only once in West Coast’s 779-game AFL history has the club had a caretaker coach.
It was round two, 2018 when Jaymie Graham deputised for Adam Simpson in a 51-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.
Simpson, father of three girls and a boy, had flown to Melbourne with the team as normal but after his youngest child was admitted to hospital on the Saturday night he caught the first available flight back to Perth on the Sunday morning
Graham, 35 at the time and the club’s second-youngest coach after John Worsfold, was well-known to Eagles fans.. He played 37 games from 2005-08, including the winning 2006 preliminary final before being left out of the grand final to accommodate David Wirrpanda’s return from injury.
He was a South Fremantle premiership player either side of his AFL career in 2005 and 2009, and was captain of the Bulldogs in 2011 before horror leg injury forced his retirement at round seven.
He spent 2010-11 on the coaching staff at St Kilda under Scott Watters, returned to West Coast in 2014 and is now the backline coach.
He received stellar support from skipper Shannon Hurn after his late coaching call-up, with Hurn picking up three Brownlow Medal votes after a team-high 29 possessions. Jack Darling earned two votes for 11 marks and four goals.
Graham will always be the answer to a tricky trivia question around Willie Rioli – his fill-in game as coach was Rioli’s AFL debut. It was also Ed Richard’s debut for the Bulldogs.
An Unlikely Hero …. Almost!
Troy Wilson has an unusual football story. He suffered from shin splints as a junior, was unwanted at professional level and played amateur football with Nollamara before finally getting a game at West Perth at age 24.
After WAFL premierships with West Perth in 1999 and East Perth in 2000 the 189cm full forward was drafted by West Coast with selection #3 in the 2001 pre-season draft and made his debut in round one, 2001 aged 29.
At the time he was the third-oldest Eagles debutant behind foundation recruits Ross Glendinning and Robert Wylie, and 19 years later is still fifth on this list by 2017 recruits Sam Mitchell and Drew Petrie, plus Glendinning and Wylie.
And in round two, 2002, in his 20th game against Collingwood at the MCG at age 30, younger only than 33-year-old Peter Matera in a side which contained 18-year-old debutant Chris Judd, he found himself an unlikely hero. Almost.
Wilson had topped the Eagles goal-kicking with 40 goals in his 18-game debut season in 2001 and was coming off six goals in a round one win over Fremantle, but this was his moment.
The Eagles, down by 21 points at quarter-time and four points at halftime, were two points up 24 minutes into the third term until Chris Tarrant goaled for Collingwood at the 27-minute mark.
After Brodie Holland kicked three goals in four minutes it was 12.9 to 15.14 at three-quarter time. The Eagles were 23 points down.
Wilson, a powerful 189cm wearing jumper #40, had two goals to three-quarter time and kicked his third to open the scoring four minutes into the last. But Anthony Rocca quickly replied for Collingwood.
The game changed when Wilson, Phil Matera and Chris Judd booted three in seven minutes, and 15 minutes into the term they were only a goal down.
After a goalless eight minutes Andrew Williams, who would move to Collingwood in 2003, found the big sticks for the Eagles. It was game on. Momentum was with the visitors. But again Collingwood steadied. Holland kicked his eighth on his way to three Brownlow votes.
It was a career-best for the then 22-year-old small forward – twice as many as his next biggest haul – and the first of only two three-vote performances in his 155-game career with Fremantle and Collingwood.
It was Collingwood by seven points. They’d played 25 minutes of a quarter that would run 34 minutes.
Rocca kicked a behind and it was eight points. Daniel Kerr cut it to seven. Four minutes to play.
Wilson, who would later kick five goals in round 22 to get West Coast into the 2002 finals, answered again. He kicked his fifth at the 32-minute mark.
Only obsessive statisticians would know, but he had 51 goals in 20 games. This equalled the 20-game club record of Peter Sumich set in 1990, and put him well clear of every other player in the club’s all-time top 10 goal-kickers.
Next best was Chris Lewis, with 34 goals in 20 games, and then Josh Kennedy with 33. And that was from 20 Eagles games. Having started his career at Carlton, Kennedy only had nine goals in his first 20 career games.
Mark LeCras and Phil Matera kicked 31 goals in his first 20 games, Peter Matera 27, Brett Heady 24, Jack Darling 19, Quentin Lynch 17 and Andrew Embley 10.
But for West Coast to win in Round two, 2002 Wilson needed one more. It didn’t happen.
There were 132 frantic seconds to the siren but Collingwood hung on 17.18 (120) to 18.11 (119).
Collingwood: A favourite round two opponent?
Eagles fans will delight in the fact that the club’s best record overall in round two matches is against Collingwood. And they will think of how nice it would be if Troy Wilson had kicked one more goal in Round two, 2002.
Still, a 4-1 record against their 2018 grand final opponents is not bad. They have played Collingwood most often in round two games and have enjoyed most wins against them.
Their first Round two meeting was on a Saturday night at Waverley in 1991 after both sides had been 70-point winners in Round one.
West Coast, with 79-gamer Dwayne Lamb their most experienced player, went goalless in the first term and trailed by nine points at quarter-time. But they were much the better side thereafter and won 13-7 (85) to 8-10 (58).
The young trio of Craig Turley, Chris Waterman and Brett Heady took the Brownlow Medal votes and Peter Sumich kicked five goals in his 44th game.
In 1995 the Eagles travelled to the MCG for a Sunday afternoon clash with Collingwood.
It was a double milestone game, with Guy McKenna playing his 150th and Peter Matera his 100th, and they were defending premiers, but they trailed at every change and were 20 down at three-quarter time.
It was 6-12 to 10-8 at the last break, but the visitors out-scored the Magpies 5-2 to 1-2 in the last term to win 11-14 (80) to 11-10 (76). Their losers took the Brownlow Medal votes but Jason Ball kicked four goals in his 19th game and Peter Matera and Dean Kemp topped the possession count with 22 apiece.
In 1998 West Coast met Collingwood in round two for the first time at home. A boisterous Friday night crowd of 35,909 packed Subiaco and had a night to remember as the home side won every quarter and prevailed going away 17-14 (116) to 8-6 (56).
Jason Ball kicked four again, Guy McKenna had an equal career-high 30 possessions, and the Brownlow votes went to Jarrad Schofield, Fraser Gehrig and McKenna.
West Coast and Collingwood met in round two for the fifth time all the way back in 2007. It was the night of Easter Saturday and they were coming off a one-point Round one win over Sydney in an exact replica of the grand final win six months earlier.
It would not have been a total surprise if they had a bit of a letdown, and they did. They were down seven points at quarter time and four points at half time, but in a dour struggle they clawed their way three points up at the last change.
The Eagles kicked the first two goals of the final stanza via Brent Staker and Matt Rosa and hung on 12-15 (87) to 11-9 (75) despite a last-second goal by Scott Burns for the visitors.
Daniel Kerr earned three Brownlow votes for 36 possessions and a goal, Chris Judd picked up two votes for 29 possessions and two goals and Michael Braun one vote for 27 possessions and one goal as Matt Priddis played his fourth game and Shannon Hurn his eighth game.
Who would have thought … ?
The round two game of 2001 isn’t especially well-remembered by Eagles fans. It was against Sydney at Subiaco in a season in which the club would finish 14th in a 16-team competition with a 5-17 record.
But it was very special for one very big reason. It was the AFL debut of Eagles games record-holder Dean Cox.
The 19-year-old ruckman was included as coach Ken Judge made three forced changes to a round one side that had lost by 66 points to Geelong in Geelong and lost Scott Cummings, Darren Glass and David Sierakowski to injury.
Cummings would miss only two weeks but later fell out of favour in what turned out to be his last season with the club, while Glass missed 10 weeks and Sierakowski, who had made his Eagles debut in round one after crossing from St Kilda, missed the rest of the season.
Cox, a round one emergency with Kane Munro and Josh Wooden, was included with third-gamer Munro and second-gamer Adam Hunter. Daniel Kerr and Troy Wilson also played their second game.
Sharing ruck duties with Michael Gardiner against the Swans Greg Stafford and Stephen Doyle, Cox was credited with 15 possessions and 15 hit-outs in what might be described in football folklore “a pretty solid first-up outing”.
It was Sunday, April8, 2001. And on Saturday 23 August 2014, 289 games, 4588 possessions and 6613 hit-outs later, with a 2006 premiership, 16 finals, 169 goals, 71 Brownlow Medal votes, six All-Australian selections, a Club Champion Award and four other top three finishes on a stellar CV, he retired.
Cox was player #138 on the Eagles all-time player list and when he wore his trademark #20 jumper for the last time he played alongside Eagles player #219 Jeremy McGovern. Throughout his magnificent career he had seen 81 new players join the Eagles playing ranks.
The round two game of 2001 was also noteworthy for the fact that Ben Cousins, in his 102nd game at 22, had 38 possessions – a club record in round two matches.
A triple-figure triumph
West Coast have had 15 wins by 100 points or more in 776 AFL games. They’ve had two each against Adelaide, Brisbane, GWS, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs, and one against Carlton, Fremantle, Gold Coast and St Kilda. And the 11th of them came in a round two game.
It was 2012 against Melbourne at Subiaco. The quarter-by-quarter margins read 20-48-90-108 and the final score was 25-16 (166) to 9-4 (58).
A list of 12 individual goal-kickers was headed by Jack Darling and Quentin Lynch with four apiece, while Ashton Hams (three), Scott Selwood (three) and Beau Waters (two) had equal career-bests and Josh Hill kicked three goals in his second game for the club.
It was a nice 100th game present for Shannon Hurn – it was the first of his five 100-point wins and have him an even 50-50 win/loss career record as he brought up his ton.
The team possession count of 447 was only 22 short of the club record of 469 set in a 61-point win over Carlton at Subiaco. And it is believed to be the only time in club history in which five players had 30 possessions or more - Scott Selwood (34), Chris Masten (34), Andrew Gaff (33), Hurn (31) and Matt Priddis (30).
Priddis, Scott Selwood and Luke Shuey (26 possessions) took the Brownlow votes.
Highest round two score
There was very nearly another 100-point round two win back in 1988. That day against Essendon at the WACA they won by 99 points, and despite falling just short of the ton they still found their way into the round two record books.
The winning score of 26.19 (175) in John Todd’s second game as coach is the club’s highest score in a round two match and the equal 10th highest all-time.
Again, there were 12 goal-kickers. Ross Glendinning (six) topped the list from Dwayne Lamb (three), Andrew Lockyer (three), Dean Turner (three), John Gastev (two), David Hart (two), Karl Langdon (two in his 2nd game), Dean Laidley (one), Murray Rance (one), Troy Ugle (one on debut), John Worsold (one) and Murray Wrensted (one).
Gastev and Worsfold each received their first Brownlow Medal votes, with Gastev judged best afield after he had 33 possessions to go with his two goals, and Worsfold picking up two votes for his 30 possessions and a goal.