In the 25th anniversary of West Coast's first premiership, the Eagle Eye recounts the Eagles historic 1992 season.
West Coast stamped their authority on the AFL competition, when they obliterated an inept Brisbane side by a club record 131 points at the WACA.
The Eagles booted their second highest ever score as they recorded their 13th straight win at the ground, with Peter Sumich and Ashley McIntosh the main contributors with six goals apiece.
The Eagles were only six points off their highest ever score, which was also against the Bears, at the WACA, four years earlier.
Coach Mick Malthouse had been wary of an improving Brisbane, with the two sides drawing earlier in the season at Carrara.
However, there were to be no slip ups as the Eagles booted five goals in the opening 12 minutes of the game, before going on an eight goal run during the second term to all but end the contest.
Such was their dominance, the Eagles had 100 points on the board just 51 minutes into the game, when Tony Evans kicked truly.
West Coast booted 17.7 in a devastating first half, and were on track to top 200 points, before fading in the final quarter.
The rout meant that the Eagles had the luxury of resting several key players through the second half, with Dean Kemp, Peter Wilson, Craig Turley and Don Pyke all spending extended periods on the bench.
Peter Matera was dominant on the wing with 24 disposals and two goals opposed to 2nd gamer Michael Voss, and had support through the middle of the ground with Chris Waterman getting 25 and Chris Mainwaring 20. Dwayne Lamb shut down Brisbane midfielder David Bain, who was returning from injury and Glen Jakovich reigned supreme in defence.
The Bears in contrast struggled to find winners on the ground. Forward Rod Owen booted five of the Bears eight for the game, proving too much for Michael Brennan. Danny Noonan was given the role on Craig Turley and restricted his output early. The close checking forced Turley to move to half-forward, where he was able to finish with four goals.
Tony Evans and Matt Clape, in just his sixth game, both had plenty of the ball in the forward line, as many of the forwards were able to cash in on West Coast’s midfield dominance. The Eagles enjoyed first class service from Paul Harding in the ruck who was too strong in the tap and too mobile around the ground for Matthew Rendell.
Bears coach Robert Walls shuffled his big men around with Rendell consigned to the bench and Roger Merrett running with the Eagles ruckman. The move didn’t work and both Richard Champion and Darryl White were thrown in the ruck, with little success.
For Walls, the result was a disappointing one after an impressive month of football. The Bears had won their first game in Melbourne in three years when they knocked off the Lions and pushed finals fancies Hawthorn and Collingwood right to the end.
“Obviously the Eagles have more talent than us, but what disappoints me is that we were beaten in aggression for the ball.
It’s over and we start again on Monday.”
Malthouse though was happy with his team’s performance against the bottom side after they had knocked off the top of the table Cats the week before. The thumping win saw the Eagles percentage improve by 8 percentage points.
The win meant West Coast consolidated their spot in fourth position, but there was plenty of movement above them. The Magpies suffered a shock nine point loss to Melbourne which sent them tumbling to third. With the Cats having the bye, Footscray returned to the top of the ladder, becoming the third team in as many weeks to top the table.
The Bulldogs were too good for North Melbourne in a high scoring clash, while the Saints and Blues held their spots in the top six with wins over Fitzroy and Sydney, respectively. The Blues though had to come from behind in the final quarter to get over the top of the lowly Swans by nine points.
On a weekend of one-sided results, the Crows thrashed the Tigers by 110 points in Adelaide, while the Hawks made a statement when they obliterated the Bombers by 160 points. The Hawks stayed in seventh position, a win outside the finals placings, but they effectively ended Essendon’s charge towards finals.
With a month remaining of the regular season, the Eagles were building nicely towards finals. West Coast sat just two points shy of the top two and the double chance, and things were picking up on the injury front as well.
Having battled a lengthy injury list all season, the Eagles finally had a full list to choose from. Guy McKenna and Brett Heady had both enjoyed several weeks in the WAFL, with West Coast choosing to give them one more week ahead of rushing them for the Bears.
Ruckman Dean Irving was finally on the park after a year on the sidelines, while David Hynes and Paul Peos were both best on ground at their respective WAFL clubs. Karl Langdon would be the only key player unavailable for the Eagles next match up against Richmond, as he served the second week of his suspension.
Match Details Friday 31 July 1992
West Coast 8.2 17.7 24.9 29.12 (186)
Brisbane 2.1 5.2 6.4 8.7 (55)
Subiaco Oval Attendance: 23,236
Best: WCE P Matera, C Waterman, P Harding, G Jakovich, A McIntosh, T Evans, M Clape, D Lamb, C Turley
BRI R Owen, D Noonan, M Zanotti, J Gastev
Goals: WCE A McIntosh, P Sumich 6, C Turley 4, T Evans, D Kemp 3, M Clape, P Matera 2, C Mainwaring, P Harding, P Wilson.
BRI R Owen 5, R Champion, D Noonan, S Hamilton.
Brownlow: 3. G.Jakovich (WCE)
2. P.Matera (WCE)
1. P.Harding (WCE)