Monday, 18 June 2018

Round 21, 1978 - East Perth FC 11.19 (85) d West Perth FC 11.10 (76), Leederville Oval

A staged fight on the footpath on the way to the massive Perth derby at Leederville

ROUND 21 (26 AUGUST) 1978
With East Perth there were certainly dumb-thug elements among the fair-weather army. As an example, when I [aged ten] went with Tim B., an East Perth supporter, to the big West Perth versus East Perth game at Leederville Oval on 26 August 1978, my father lagged behind us as he had to lock up all the car doors manually. As this was happening, Tim B. suggested to me that we stage a mock two-person fight on the footpath. As the mock fight got underway, just as in a cliché-ridden movie, an old panel van drove past Tim B. and me, and the driver shouted out some brain-dead encouragement to the one wearing the East Perth colours. I remember that it was a fine warm day more consistent with the coming spring season than of the winter just ending.

East Perth fan Tim B. in recent years (first left)
This was the last home-and-away game of the 1978 qualifying rounds. West Perth was second before the game whilst East Perth was fifth. A surprise win to East Perth that day, possibly on the back of the vocal support of that club’s large army of “fair-weather fans” on the huge scoreboard bank, saw East Perth reach the final-four and West Perth relegated to the first semi-final. The final score was: East Perth 11.19 (85) defeated West Perth 11.10 (76). On the same day, Claremont was defeated by the minor premiers Perth, 15.17 (107) to 15.6 (96), which saw Claremont drop out of the final-four to be replaced by East Perth. This was somewhat ironic for Perth supporters as East Perth then went on to defeat Perth in the grand-final although a young Peter “The Buzz” Bosustow did manage to score a brilliant seven goals for the losers. In the end East Perth was extremely fortunate to defeat Perth by two points on an atrociously wet grand-final day at Subiaco Oval. As Perth’s history book From Redlegs to Demons makes clear, Perth played the 1978 grand final without two of its key players, full-forward Murray Couper and defender John Quartermaine. If these two players had played and / or the day had been fine and / or Barry Cable and Ian Miller had rejoined Perth rather than joined East Perth at the start of the season then surely Perth would have won three premierships in a row to repeat its remarkable feat of the late-1960s (from pages 21-22 and 69 of the book FUCKING HOSTILE: WEST PERTH FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS 1984-86).

To buy the book FUCKING HOSTILE: WEST PERTH FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS 1984-86 (paperback version):

To buy the book FUCKING HOSTILE: WEST PERTH FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS 1984-86 (hardcover version):

Match results - Saturday, 26 August, 1978, Leederville Oval
East Perth FC 1.4 5.8 9.13 11.19 (85) d West Perth FC 4.2 6.3 8.7 11.10 (76)
Scorers: EP: Otway 2.3, Arnold 2.,2, Miller 2.0, Cable 1.3, Ray, Duggan 1.2, Michalczyk, Smith 1.0, Hamilton, Kickett 0.2, Kelly 0.1, Forced 0.2.
WP: Alderton 3.1, Ellen, Hendriks 2.1, Valli 1.3, Richards, Fong 1.1, Day 1.0, Clarke, Duckworth 0.1.
Injuries: EP: D Turner (influenza) replaced by R Duggan in selected side. S Curtis (strained ankle ligaments) replaced by W Otway at quarter-time.
Free kicks: EP: 12, 13, 11 ,5 – 41
WP: 11, 8, 11, 6 – 36
Official attendance: 24,567 (from WAFL Online)
Weather: Fine, light south-easterly breeze
(Source: The West Australian, Monday, 28 August, 1978, p. 84)

LO from northern end goals, 6/7/2011
Best players:
1 Geoff Taylor (WP): Continued in brilliant form at full-back where he played with dash and skill.
2. Glenn Robertson (EP): Outstanding on a half-back flank. His speed and ball-handling skills made him a dynamic player.
3 Ian Miller (EP): Strong and effective as a ruck-rover. Again his hand-passing played a big part in the team’s football.
Team rankings:
EP: G Robertson 1, I Miller 2, P Kelly 3, B Cable 4, K Bryant 5, A Hamilton 6.
WP: G Taylor 1, M Washfold 2, I Kent 3, L Richards 4, R Prunster 5, J Duckworth 6.
(Source: The West Australian, Monday, 28 August, 1978, p. 84)

Watch six minutes of this WP v EP (1978) match on YouTube:

E Frem
Swan D

(Source: The West Australian, Monday, 28 August, 1978, p. 84)

WAFL Season 1978 leading goal kickers (qualifying rounds): R Bauskis (SF) – 81; M Olsen (SD) – 79; M Couper (P) – 78; A Duda (EP) – 73; R Wiley (P) – 69; J Sewell (EF) – 68; M Malone (S) – 55; P Bosustow (P) – 54; P Krakouer (C) – 52; R Alderton (WP) – 48; T Buhagiar (EF) – 47; N Randall (S) – 47; R Ditchburn (C) – 46; K Judge (EF) – 44; J McKay (SF) 43; J Krakouer (C) – 41; N Carter (SF) – 40.

Match analysis
Quotes from the late GEOFF CHRISTIAN:
“East Perth, relentless rather than brilliant, won a stirring battle of attrition that earned them a nine-point victory over West Perth at Leederville Oval on Saturday.
“History will show that this was one of football’s great qualifying-round games – an action spectacular before a record [Leederville Oval] crowd of 24,567 that provided the frenzied atmosphere normally reserved for grand finals.
Peter Menaglio
“It was a match that refused to die because neither side was in a mood to quit on an afternoon when the winners earned the right to play Perth in the second semi-final.
“West Perth’s early brilliance took them to a 25-point lead after 40 minutes of play. That period was the only time when either side dominated the scoring.
“East Perth’s ability to fight their way out of trouble was typical of their recent football, which has given them seven wins on end.
“In the final analysis, East Perth won because they held an edge on the wings; they finished as winners on the ball; and their defence was slightly more efficient.
“East Perth’s Phil Kelly, WA’s most talented wingman, proved just that on Saturday in a smooth performance that earned him a strategic victory.
“Kelly’s contribution, plus that of co-wingman John McGuire and centreman Larry Kickett gave East Perth a points decision across the middle of the ground.
“It was a narrow but decisive victory [i.e. across the centreline]. West Perth had centreman Barry Day in sound form, but wingmen Peter Menaglio and Ian Logan were below their best.
“West Perth’s best football came early when ruckman John Duckworth started powerfully and effectively; rovers Bill Valli and Les Fong were winners; and ruck-rovers Laurie Richards and Alan Watling provided strong support.
“But this early pattern did not continue after half-time, when East Perth’s roving trio of Barry Cable, Alex Hamilton and Wayne Otway gradually got on top.
“East Perth made good use of changing ruckmen Wayne Duke and Ian McCulloch off the bench and they matched Duckworth, Russell Ellen and Ray Boyanich in the packs.
“Duckworth lacked enough support and Boyanich had a day when little went right for him.
“Ruck-rovers Ian Miller (East Perth) and Richards were both top-class players. Miller was strong and effective on the ground and Richards was brilliant in the air, taking two of the best marks of the season – one in the third term and the other in the last.
“East Perth turned the pre-match loss of half-forward flanker Dean Turner into a profit by replacing him with ruck-rover Rod Duggan.
“This gave them Miller, Duggan, George Michalczyk and John Hayes available for use as ruck-rovers.
“Duggan was a more-than-useful contributor; so was Hayes, especially in the second-half. But Michalczyk’s main function was as a class replacement for back-pocket specialist Steve Curtis for the last three quarters.
“This match will be remembered for the quality of the defensive football of both sides.
“Half-back flanker Glenn Robertson and full-back Kevin Bryant set the standard fr East Perth. It was the quality of East Perth’s back play early that prevented West Perth from being more than 25 points in front.
“Full-back Geoff Taylor was outstanding in the West Perth defence and centre-half-back Mark Washfold provided the surprise of the match.
“It was his best performance in league football. He had 18 kicks and took seven marks.
“West Perth half-back flanker Ross Prunster and back-pocket specialist Ian Kent both produced top-class games.
“But the standard of the defensive play was not matched in attack and both teams finished the game with selection problems in the forward lines.
“The time has come for Archie Duda to return to the East Perth full-forward position. The team’s play across the full-forward line was the least convincing of all divisions.
“West Perth used Geoff Hendriks at full-forward at the start. He finished the game at centre-half-forward and looks the player to start there next Saturday [first semi-final v South Fremantle].
“In a game in which courage was taken for granted, special mention must be made of West Perth ruckman-forward Ben Jager, who sustained a heavy blow to an eye but continued manfully and helped produce his team’s second-last goal.”
(Source: Geoff Christian (1978), “East Perth spell out warning for the finals”, The West Australian, Monday, 28 August, p. 83).

The late GEOFF CHRISTIAN was a remarkable sports-writer who wrote in an excellent, masterful, and charming prose style that few could duplicate today. He could make a Round 13 match between the two bottom-placed clubs played in pouring rain in front of 4,000 people sound as important, exciting, and earth-shattering as the Russian Revolution or the Arab Spring! His genuine enthusiasm for the WAFL and later for West Coast Eagles was authentic, genuine, and infectious. 

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