Welcome to the seventh episode of Rosco's Rivalries - thanks to Hungry Jack's.
Our inaugural club captain relives some of our classic clashes with the Power.
Watch the video and read the article on some of our epic battles with Port.
Round 11, 1998
Winning in Adelaide has become a reasonably common occurrence, particularly since the switch of AFL matches to the Adelaide Oval, but that has not always been the case.
In this game, in 1998, the venue was Football Park in the inhospitable west lakes area, and after being down by 15 points at half-time the Eagles work their way to an impressive – and important – two point victory.
At the centre of the brilliant second half performance was emerging star Ben Cousins.
In the third-quarter he side-stepped an opponent to set Mitchell White up for a crucial goal and kicked the match winning goal in the final term.
After kicking into the man on the mark, the 20-year-old showed the poise of a veteran, regained possession of the loose ball and sent the ball through the middle of the major opening.
While Cousins was impressive, so was defender Nick Stone, punching above his weight at centre-half-back, the experienced Chris Waterman, who topped the possession count, while Dean Kemp, Drew Banfield and Michael Braun were also keys through the engine room.
Other key contributions came from Fraser Gehrig and Daniel Metropolis, who took nine marks, as the Eagles climbed to sixth position on the ladder after upsetting Port in what was the 100th AFL match at SA football headfquarters.
Round 6, 2015
There are moments in a game, in a journey, that with the benefit of hindsight it is possible to reflect and identify as a pivotal point along the path.
West Coast had been in search of the “big scalp” for a season or two. Accused of beating up on the teams around them, but unable to conquer an opponent at the top end of the competition. All of that changed on this pulsating afternoon at Adelaide Oval.
From an internal perspective there was no focus on claiming a high profile victim, but some outside forces were besotted with the theory that West Coast would put lesser teams to the sword, but could not beat a genuine premiership contender.
After a competitive opening quarter, when West Coast probably deserved to hold a scoreboard advantage, Port looked in control in the last 10 minutes of the half and took a 17-point lead into the main break.
During the half-time evaluation, in the bowels of Adelaide Oval, if the Eagles were feeling as though the game was slipping away, that was not evident in the prevailing attitude. The players were “up” as they encouraged each other to dig deep, take the game on. Leave nothing behind.
And the Eagles dominated the third term.
With Elliot Yeo relishing his switch to the midfield, combining with Matt Priddis, Luke Shuey, Chris Masten and Dom Sheed to ensure a steady source of scoring opportunities, West Coast took the enthusiasm out of the crowd.
Mark LeCras, playing more midfield than forward, was also enterprising while Josh Kennedy did a remarkable job in attack. His position in the team was the subject of much speculation after he hyper-extended his elbow the previous week.
He not only took his place, but had a profound influence and had he been able to master a flukey breeze, the Eagles would have held a sizeable lead going into the final term.
As it happened the Eagles led by five points and resisted everything Port could throw at them, Shuey sealing the game after receiving a brilliant handpass from Priddis at the 32-minute mark of the last term.
Again the defence, led by Will Schofield, Jeremy McGovern, Sharrod Wellingham and Brad Sheppard was exceptional. Given the dearth of tall defenders, Sheppard found himself standing Justin Westhoff for much of the game and prevented the Port veteran from having any influence.
Elimination Final 2017
This game was such an epic, it’s difficult to know where to begin. But the end was so dramatic, let’s kick it off there.
The game is in extra time, about 20 seconds remaining and Port Adelaide leads by four points.
A snap by Dom Sheed, a left footer in the wrong pocket at the city end of Adelaide Oval, rolls across the boundary line. It’s the best result for West Coast; a behind would have given Port the ball, a kick out of the area would have been enough to absorb the remaining time.
Instead it’s a boundary throw-in. The ball spills to the back of the congestion, it bobbles around for a couple of seconds before falling in the direction of Luke Shuey. He swoops, gathers, is taken high in the tackle.
It’s a late call, but eventually umpire Chris Donlon puts his whistle to his lips and indicates that Jared Polec’s arm has grabbed Shuey around the neck. As Shuey receives the ball he’s aware it will be the last kick of the game.
He has a little smirk to himself, perhaps saying ‘I’ve got this.’ Then lines it up from about 40 metres and the siren sounds. Shuey walks in, deliberately and strikes it sweetly. The ball is going nowhere, but through the middle and the Eagles have scored one of the most thrilling victories in history.
Shuey is swamped by teammates; the Port Adelaide players drop to their haunches, some collapse onto their backs and stare blankly at the night sky.
It was an extraordinary climax to a remarkable match; the first final to ever go into overtime and to then be decided by a kick after the siren. We may never see it again.
Even before that amazing finish, this was a gripping contest that ebbed and flowed.
The Eagles, with an outstanding record of five victories from six starts at Adelaide Oval, were not daunted by the prospect of an away final at the newest big stadium in the country. Indeed, having put themselves in the position of needing to travel for any finals fixtures, this was the friendliest of the away venues.
And they started strongly, with Jack Darling, in his 150th game, igniting the Eagles early.
He was capitalising on the work of an energetic midfield led by Andrew Gaff, Matt Priddis, Sam Mitchell, Jack Redden and Shuey as the Eagles edged out to a 31-point lead in the middle stages of the second term after a Jamie Cripps goal.
When the Power opened up a 10-point advantage in the early part of the last quarter of regular time it seemed they had done enough to snatch victory. But the Eagles came again and in a desperate final few minutes produced some heroics that locked scores at full time – 9.6 (60) to 8.12 (60).
If West Coast had failed to establish scoreboard pressure in the first half, Port was guilty of wasting chances thereafter and they were denied a last-ditch push for victory by Eric Mackenzie.
With the scores tied in the final seconds, he slid after a ball that seemed destined to dribble through for a behind. Desperate to prevent Port scoring in that remarkable situation, he crashed ribs first into the behind post and shovelled the ball over the boundary line.
It was a game with so many heroes
Aside from the performance of Shuey, who was best afield before slotting the decider, Priddis, Mitchell and Gaff were outstanding, along with Drew Petrie and Nathan Vardy. Indeed, to a man the Eagles contributed.
In previous clashes with Port, ruckman Paddy Ryder had been a dominant figure but Petrie, in particular, and Vardy dulled his influence which was a critical factor in the triumph.
So was the performance of centre half-back Jeremy McGovern, who took 15 marks, Shannon Hurn and Elliot Yeo while Lewis Jetta was at his best in extra time when the Eagles desperately needed some run.
Round 21, 2018
It couldn’t happen again, could it?
Well, yes it could. And it did.
In another remarkable, almost unbelievable climax to this game, the West Coast Eagles pulled the game out of the grasp of the Power in what could only be described as extraordinary circumstances.
It was a day when Port led from the first bounce to the final siren, but still lost.
With about 40 seconds on the clock, the West Coast Eagles who were surging in the final quarter, pushed deep into attack. Some clever work from Jack Darling and Jamie Cripps finished with the ball in the hands of Mark LeCras who ran into an open goal.
Two points down and with the ball going back to the middle there was still time to snatch it, but everything would need to go right.
Scott Lycett won the centre clearance, the ball squirted forward and the umpire called for another ball up.
It was bounced, Lycett won the ball again and scrambled a kick forward. Jeremy McGovern, the great interceptor, had pushed forward to balance up numbers, and was in the perfect position to accept the rushed kicked in his sticky fingers about 40 metres from goal.
He took that mark with 24 seconds on the clock and would kick for victory post-siren.
There was a cheeky exchange with Luke Shuey who muttered – ‘it’s your turn mate’ – and McGovern went back and slotted the match-winner. He didn’t strike it as purely as he might have visualised, but it made its way over the goal umpire’s hat none-the-less.
And then, conjuring memories of an epic victory a little less than 12 months ago, McGovern was swamped by ecstatic teammates.
Port had controlled the game for the first two-and-a-half quarters, but the Eagles remained persistent and would not disappear.
When defender Dan Houston was carried off on a stretcher with forward Charlie Dixon writhing simultaneously on the ground with a serious ankle injury, the Power had been hit hard. In addition they lost ruckman Paddy Ryder to a hip flexor injury so were down to one player on the bench.
The Eagles capitalised on the advantage, ran hard through the middle of the ground with the likes of Elliot Yeo, in his 100th game for the club, Jack Redden, Luke Shuey and Mark Hutchings prime movers they edged inexorably closer.
Shannon Hurn, McGovern and Brad Sheppard were important down back while Cripps, Darling and LeCras were all key factors in a monumental team victory.
West Coast Eagles v Port Adelaide
Highest score: 27.17 – round 10, 2005
Lowest score: 7.8 (50) – round 7, 2001 and round 16, 2003
Greatest winning margin: 117 points – round 10, 2005
Greatest losing margin: 112 points – round 22, 2001
Longest winning sequence: 3 games – round 15, 1997 to round 12 1999; round 2, 2011 to round 21, 2012; round 6, 2015 to round 16, 2017 and 1st elimination final 2017 to round 7, 2018