A Frenchman’s dozen
A total of 940 games have been played and 26,476 goals have been kicked at Docklands Stadium since it opened in 2000. But only one player has kicked 12 goals in a game there. Mark LeCras.
It was round 16, 2010 when LeCras, in his 72nd game at 23, kicked 12.2 from 22 possessions and 12 marks as the Eagles beat Essendon 20.12 (132) to 14.16 (100).
And so, as the ‘best of the Eagles’ flashback series continues, LeCras this week shares top billing for the round 16 flashback with 200th-gamers Chris Mainwaring and Ben Cousins.
LeCras’ career-best performance, rewarded with three Brownlow Medal votes, was the standout individual goal-kicking performance of the season and a welcome spark for an Eagles side which collected the only wooden-spoon in club history.
He kicked 63 goals for the year to finish equal fourth in League goal-kicking despite the Eagles’ struggles, with only the Western Bulldogs’ Barry Hall (80), Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt (78) and Sydney’s Lance Franklin (64) ahead of him and Geelong’s Steve Johnson (63) level.
LeCras’ 12-goal haul topped the performances of Riewoldt (10), Barry Hall (7) and Brisbane’s Jonathan Brown (7) and doubled his previous best of six, which he had posted twice in 2009.
LeCras kicked six again in 2016 and when he retired after the 2018 premiership eight years and 147 games on from his Docklands day out it remained his career-best.
It was also the third-best single game haul in West Coast history behind Scott Cummings’ 14 goals in 2000 and Peter Sumich’s 13 goals in 1991.
LeCras’ 2010 total of 63 goals is the 11th best season total in club history. Ahead of him are:-
111 – Peter Sumich (1991)
95 – Scott Cummings (1999)
90 – Peter Sumich (1990)
82 – Peter Sumich (1992)
82 – Josh Kennedy (2016)
80 – Josh Kennedy (2015)
76 – Peter Sumich (1993)
73 – Ross Glendinning (1988)
69 – Josh Kennedy (2017)
65 – Quinten Lynch (2006)
63 – Mark LeCras (2010)
Along the way LeCras bettered Phil Matera’s 2003 club record of goal in a season by a small forward of 62, and his 61 goals of 2004.
It set him on a path to become the third Eagles player to reach 400 career goals, with his career total of 441, which sits behind only Josh Kennedy’s 606 and Peter Sumich’s 514.
LeCras’ big day out came as the Eagles faced 13th-placed Essendon. He kicked each of West Coast’s four goals in the first quarter and their 5th, 9th and 10th in the second quarter as they led 10.9 to 8.7 at the long break.
Having kicked more goals in the first half of this game than in any other full game of his career, he added the Eagles’ 11th, 14th and 15th goals in the third quarter, and the 17th and 19th in the last.
LeCras’ 12-goal haul bettered the previous Docklands record of 11 set by Essendon’s Matthew Lloyd in 2003 and was matched by St Kilda’s Stephen Milne in 2005. Two other 10-goal marks were set by Lloyd in 2001 and StKilda’s ex-Eagle Fraser Gehrig in 2004. The only other player to reach double figures at the venue was North Melbourne’s Ben Brown in 2019.
When LeCras retired he was West Coast’s leading all-time goal-kicker at Docklands with 86, but he now sits one behind Kennedy’s 87.
Round 16 at a glance
Overall West Coast have a 17-16 win/loss record in round 16 matches. They have played most often against Sydney (2-4), Fremantle (2-3) and Essendon (3-1) and are unbeaten against Melbourne (2-0), Western Bulldogs (1-0), St Kilda (1-0) and GWS (1-0). They have a positive round 16 record against Brisbane (2-1), a split against Geelong (1-1) and Collingwood (1-1) and are negative against North Melbourne (1-2) and Port Adelaide (0-3).
They were 3-0 at the WACA Ground and are 2-0 at Optus Stadium but, unusually, had an 8-9 record at Subiaco. They are 4-2 in Victoria, having gone 1-1 at the MCG, 1-0 at Waverley and 2-1 at Docklands, and have never won in NSW, Queensland and SA, going 0-2 at the SCG 0-1 at the Gabba and 0-2 at Football Park.
Another Mainy highlight
Chris Mainwaring had a career-best 45 possessions in round 16, 1990, when the Eagles beat Footscray by 43 points at the WACA Ground. At the time it was second on the club list behind Steve Malaxos’ 48 possessions in 1987 and has not been beaten. Matt Priddis had 45 of his own in a game in 2008. Malaxos had 35 possessions on the day of Mainwaring’s monster game while Peter Sumich kicked six goals.
Emerging Eagles superstar Glen Jakovich played his fifth game in round 16, 1991 against Melbourne at the MCG. And playing his fifth game for the Demons was older brother Allen.
It wasn’t the first time they’d met – that had happened in round one of the same season in Allen’s debut – but it was a memorable day nevertheless. Allen kicked six goals, his best in six games against his little brother, but Glen had the last laugh when he had 23 possessions in a 24-point West Coast win. Peter Matera, with 27 possessions and two goals, was best afield, while Scott Watters had 30 possessions and one goal for two Brownlow Medal votes and Peter Sumich kicked five goals.
John Worsfold posted his 150th game in round 16 1994 as the Eagles beat Essendon by 36 points at Subiaco. Ensuring their skipper celebrated appropriately, stalwarts Peter Matera, Glen Jakovich and Chris Mainwaring took the Brownlow votes. Nothing unusual about that. Mainwaring and Jakovich also led the votes in a 22-point round 16 win over Melbourne at the WACA Ground in 1992.
Beating the bogey team
The West Coast rivalry with Sydney through the 2005-06 seasons when the clubs met in the grand final continued in round 16, 2007 when the Eagles prevailed by 12 points at Subiaco.
It was a veritable goal-fest for the two sides that had averaged 70 points each in the flag deciders.
West Coast won 16.16 (112) to 15.10 (100) as Ashley Hansen kicked four goals to pick up two Brownlow Medal votes behind Daniel Kerr (27 possessions, 3 votes) and Ben Cousins (38 possessions, 1 vote).
Career best for Cox
Since the inception in 1991 of the current all-Australian team 21 different players have been chosen as first ruck. Dean Cox stands at the top of the list as a four-time first ruck and six-time choice overall.
But there is another statistic what puts the Eagles games record-holder above the rest.
In round 16, 2008 Cox had a career-best 36 possessions in a 46-point loss to Brisbane at the Gabba.
It is a figure that no other all-Australian ruckman has reached. And while it’s no more than a statistical fine line between Cox’s 36, Jim Stynes’ 35, the 34 of Adam Goodes and Todd Goldstein and the 33 of Brodie Grundy and Jeff White.
Or Aaron Sandilands, Steven King, Peter Everitt, Paul Salmon, Justin Madden, Shaun Rehn and Scott Wynd, other All-Australian first rucks who topped 30 possessions in a game.
But it is a further measure of the extraordinary all-round qualities of Cox, and fodder for a good trivia question.
If you didn’t know he’d had 36 possessions against Brisbane in this game and were asked to pick the one player from Cox, Matt Priddis, Andrew Embley, Chad Fletcher and Adam Selwood who did not have 30+ you might struggle.
Obviously it’s wasn’t Cox. And not Embley (34), Fletcher (32) or Selwood (30). It was Priddis (16).
Worsfold’s 250th as coach
Eight players have posted 250 games for the Eagles, but only one coach. John Worsfold.
Having played his 150th game in round 16, 1994 he reached this giant coaching milestone 18 years later in round 16, 2012. It was against Sydney at Subiaco and, sadly for the long-time skipper turned coach, it was a loss.
The Swans, with a career-best four goals from future Eagle Lewis Jetta, won each quarter on their way to an 18.13 (121) to 10.9 (69) triumph. Daniel Kerr had 31 possessions for the home side and Chris Masten kicked three goals.