Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Round 16, 1984 - East Perth FC 19.15 (129) d West Perth FC 18.17 (125), Perth Oval.

Round 16, 1984 – East Perth v West Perth, Perth Oval

This was the second close and exciting finish to West Perth versus East Perth “Perth derbies” during the 1984 home-and-away season. It is often said that Fremantle derbies are usually tough contests regardless of the positions of the two teams on the league ladder. The same could be said for Perth derbies. However, East Perth was in a rebuilding stage in 1984, like South Fremantle, and it only just made the finals series. Although West Perth was in the final-four after the loss in this Round 16 clash it finished the season badly and failed to make the finals. Following West Perth in the 1980s was a disheartening experience as the club often defeated leading teams only to lose games it should have won. In this game Les Fong and Peter Menaglio, as usual, were outstanding for West Perth. Both should be regarded as legendary names across the WAFL today but sadly that does not appear to be the case. Why not a “Les Fong-Robert Wiley” trophy for Perth versus West Perth games? It might make more sense than Stephen Michael-Barry Cable Cup (for Perth versus South Fremantle games) as at least Wiley and Fong actually played against each other and played the same position!

We note in this game West Perth coach Dennis Cometti again playing players out of position. Phil Bradmore was named at centre-half-back rather than in his customary centre-half-forward position while David Marsh’s match report suggests the workmanlike but hardly charismatic ex-Swan Districts defender Graeme Comerford played at centre-half-forward! Craig Nelson was named at centre-half-forward rather than in the ruck. The 1983 Sandover Medallist John Ironmonger remained with East Perth in 1984 and he dominated West Perth’s inexperienced ruckmen Stuart Crole and Ramsay Bogunovich. Craig Nelson does not appear to have played in the ruck although he was in the starting side according to Saturday’s West Australian. The surprise success of country recruit Kim Rogers in the ruck for West Perth in 1985 is one factor which contributed to the club’s finals appearance that year.

However, in this 1984 game, it was the type of game West Perth really should have won if it wanted to play finals football. East Perth was in the rebuilding stage but the club mixed new players with the remains of the 1978 premiership side very well and the club was very competitive in 1984 and never disgraced. In this East Perth team old-hands such as Grant Campbell, Stan Magro, Peter Spencer, and Wayne Otway (the only remaining 1978 premiership player in the team that day) played alongside many exciting young players who would go on to have great careers in the VFL/AFL including Glenn Bartlett, Michael Christian, Richard Dennis (out injured for this game), and the one and only Alex Ishchenko.

The 1984 WAFL season was extremely tightly fought, few teams were uncompetitive, and few teams were far ahead of the pack. Only ten premiership points separated South Fremantle (second) from Claremont (seventh). Leader East Fremantle could hardly have claimed to have dominated the season with 11 wins and 5 losses and a percentage of 110.31% after Round 16. Only one club, South Fremantle, had a percentage exceeding 120% and only last-placed Perth had a percentage below 85% (but a still very respectable 82.16%). Claremont (seventh) had won 7 and lost 9. Even the struggling Demons had won 4 games by Round 16. It is to the credit of past and present WAFL administrators and club leaders that the competition was so evenly poised and it suggests the zoning system was working well at this point. The competition had eight strong, traditional, and well-supported clubs all playing out of their traditional home grounds. This is very unlike the present AFL where of the Victorian clubs only Geelong, Melbourne, and arguably Richmond still plays matches at the traditional home ground.

My 1984 season notes, written during the 1984 season, state:

“East Perth 19.15 d West Perth 18.17. Perth Oval. Michael [Blewett] lost lens at Claisebrook Station. Huge record cheer squad – talked to [West Perth coach Dennis] Cometti before the match. Timeclock wasn’t working – thrilling last quarter. Great games by [John] Gastev and [Derek] Kickett” [underlining in original].

There was a large group of people in the West Perth Cheer Squad that day. It was a fine day and the team was playing the traditional rivals. I think that the cheer squad had its complete contingent of around 15 dedicated members there that day, plus the many hangers-on you would get at away games. It was a happy carnival-like atmosphere as most away games for the group were. Dennis Cometti talked to the group members from across the fence before the match. The group probably had around 10 to 15 red-and-blue flags. It was a “thrilling last quarter”, I wrote in 1984, and the time clock was not working at this stage of the match. I listed John Gastev and Derek Kickett as West Perth’s best two players while David Marsh of The West Australian listed these two as third and fourth best respectively. The West Perth cheer squad members enjoyed the thrilling finish and we were not too distressed to lose the game. A large cheer squad group walked back through the old entrance (now gone) at the south-east corner of the ground and headed back to Claisebrook Station. My season notes record that the joint founder Mike B. lost his contact lens at Claisebrook Station after the match. Group members took a long time looking for it.

Ted "Square" Kilmurray, G. Farmer, Laurie Kennedy.
The whole group took up nearly one carriage on the city-bound train. At Perth station group members split up and the majority of the members went to take their various buses back to the northern suburbs. (This was before the building of the Clarkson train line.) Mike B. and I headed through the city streets to St George’s Terrace to take the Number 105 bus to Booragoon, still holding one giant red-and-blue flag each. Mike and I often met the Perth and Claremont cheer squads in the city-centre in those days and everyone from all groups would exchange friendly greetings and match results much like the Victorian cheer squads of that era used to do at Flinders Street Station. This day in 1984 was a fantastic match in the best tradition of the WAFL Golden Era, played between two traditional rivals with a good atmosphere and on a lovely fine day. Our cheer squad then was one of the largest groups we ever managed to assemble. This day was probably the first when the cheer squad existed in mature form and it was one of its best days. I remember a great atmosphere of camaraderie among the group increased by Dennis Cometti exchanging a conversation with group members before the game. The large Aboriginal pro-East Perth family groups that used to sit under the big trees behind the southern-end goals gave the cheer squad absolutely no problems nor we them. Bassendean Oval in 1985 would not be quite so welcoming.

Likely line-ups:
(Source: The West Australian, Saturday, 21 July, 1984, p. 189)
East Perth FC
Backs: Magro, Kohlmann, Christian
Half-backs: Fullarton, Bartlett, Sheldon
Centres: Carpenter, Blakely, Solin
Half-forwards: R Sparks, Campbell, D Morgan
Forwards: Ironmonger, Scott, Papotto
Rucks: Ishchenko, Spencer, Otway
Interchange: Cocker, Walsh
In: R Sparks, Ishchenko, Magro, Walsh
Out: K Sparks, Berry, Kavanagh, Dennis (ankle)
West Perth FC
Backs: Dayman, Hendriks, Comerford
Half-backs: O’Brien, Bradmore, J Morgan
Centres: Warwick, Michalczyk, Mifka
Half-forwards: D Kickett, Nelson, Gastev
Forwards: Bogunovich, Simms, Davis
Ruck: Crole, Menaglio, Fong
Interchange: Bell, Mountain

(Source: The West Australian, Saturday, 21 July, 1984, p. 189)

Match results – Saturday 21 July, 1984, Perth Oval
East Perth FC 2.5 9.9 14.12 19.15 (129) d West Perth FC 1.5 7.9 12.12 18.17 (125)
Scorers: EP: R Sparks 4.2, Papotto 3.3, Campbell 3.0, Otway 2.1, Solin 2.0, Scott 1.4, Spencer 1.2, Blakely 1.1, Carpenter 1.0, Ironmonger 1.0, Morgan 0.1, Fullarton 0.1.
WP: D Simms 5.1, Kickett 4.3, Gastev 3.2, Fong 2.0, Hendriks 1.1, Nelson 1.1, Bradmore 1.1, Warwick 1.0, Menaglio 0.3, Comerford 0.3, Mifka 0.1, Forced 0.1.
Weather: Fine, moderate southerly breeze.
(Source: The West Australian, Monday, 23 July, 1984, p. 85)
Attendance: 8,505 (from WAFL Online)
Free kicks: EP: 9, 8, 5, 5 – 27.
WP: 11, 9, 11, 4 – 35.
(Source: The West Australian, Monday, 23 July, 1984, p. 85)

Best players:
1 John Ironmonger (EP) – Was a dominant ruckman throughout. Knocked the ball intelligently, marked strongly and used constructive handball.
2 Peter Menaglio (WP) – A strong and creative ruck-roving performance, with a particularly brilliant second half.
3 Russell Sparks (EP) – An enterprising performance on a half-forward flank where he continually set up attacking moves.
Team rankings:
EP: J Ironmonger 1, R Sparks 2, G Campbell 3, W Otway 4, M Blakely 5, D Morgan 6.
WP: P Menaglio 1, L Fong 2, J Gastev 3, D Kickett 4, P Bradmore 5, D Warwick 6.
(Source: The West Australian, Monday, 23 July, 1984, p. 85)

E Perth
(Source: The West Australian, Monday, 23 July, 1984, p. 85)
*eventual 1984 WAFL premiers
**eventual 1984 WAFL runners-up

Match analysis:
Phil Bradmore
Quotes from DAVID MARSH:
“East Perth’s rush towards the 1984 final round [KJ note: echoes of 1978] gained momentum at Perth Oval on Saturday when they forced West Perth to stagger and then fall at the end of a contest that was survival of the fittest.
“East Perth, 10 points down late in the final quarter, recovered to win by four points – 19.15 to 18.17.
“It was a magnificent game in which the East Perth players, after appearing on the brink of being over-run by West Perth, showed tremendous character to fight back and snatch this thrilling victory.
“However, West Perth’s bid for success showed plenty of raw courage from a team which finished with only 15 fit men.
“West Perth lost veteran centreman George Michalczyk at the 12-minute mark of the first quarter with a dislocated shoulder, ruckman Ramsay Bogunovich at the six-minute mark of the second quarter with a knee injury, and centre-half-forward Graeme Comerford (elbow), full-back Geoff Hendriks (knee) and back-pocket player Wayne Dayman (ankle) [REST IN PEACE – the author] all carried injuries at the finish.
“Another shadow is over the club with brilliant half-forward Derek Kickett, Brian Perrin and John Morgan facing the tribunal tonight after being reported following separate incidents.
“It was not a happy day for West Perth. It was hard for them to accept the philosophy that the East Perth victory was what football needed to sustain more interest in which clubs will play in the 1984 final round.
Peter Menaglio
“East Perth led 14.12 to 12.12 at three-quarter time, which stemmed from excellent ruck work from John Ironmonger, livewire roving from Wayne Otway and a dominant half-forward line of Russell Sparks, Grant Campbell and David Morgan.
“Strongly built Mark Blakely worked hard in the centre to instigate several forward thrusts for the home side and ruck-rover Peter Spencer played well in patches.
“West Perth’s two best players were ruck-rover Peter Menaglio and rover Les Fong, who covered tremendous ground and were chief kick-getters.
“Fong finished the game with 27 kicks and Menaglio had 22 (with 14 in the second half). They provided West Perth with momentum on the ball and to a certain extent helped to nullify Ironmonger’s dominance in the ruck.
“West Perth’s half-forward flankers John Gastev and [Derek] Kickett were outstanding.
“Dean Warwick and Paul Mifka showed pace on the wings and Doug Simms kicked West Perth’s first four and their sixth goals from full-forward”.
(Source: David Marsh (1984), “East Perth’s rush picks up”, The West Australian, Monday, 23 July, 1984, p. 84)
South-west corner gates, Perth Oval, for Glasgow Celtic versus Perth Glory friendly match, 9 July 2011.
Kick-off for the first-half, Glasgow Celtic versus Perth Glory friendly match, 9 July 2011.
The south-east corner of Perth Oval, Lord Street, 9 July 2011. There used to be an entrance gate here during the 1980s and WAFL football supporters arriving from Claisebrook train station would enter the ground here.

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