West Coast Eagles premiership win shows just how far we’ve come in 12 years

Dom Sheed of the Eagles celebrates kicking a goal during the 2018 AFL Grand Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the West Coast Eagles at the MCG. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Dom Sheed of the Eagles celebrates kicking a goal during the 2018 AFL Grand Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the West Coast Eagles at the MCG. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

THE last time the West Coast Eagles won the premiership the iPhone hadn’t been released.

Facebook was still for college kids in America.

The seething echo chamber of Twitter was only two months old.

Instagram was still four years away, and the homepage of the AFL website looked like this:

I mention this because for the past two days, those platforms are all I’ve used to soak up the club’s fourth flag.

From hearing the boys destroy Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline on Tom Barrass’s Insta, to watching the passage of play that led to Dom Sheed’s match-winning goal so often my phone battery passed out, the past few days have seen me blow the doors off my ‘screen time’.

I’ll be honest, this year I didn’t even buy a paper.

When the Eagles scraped past Sydney in 2006, the game fell in a peculiar period of time – and no, not just because Stephen Quartermain was commentating.

Most people had abandoned their VCRs by 2006, and replaced them with DVD players that couldn’t record.

So to watch Daniel Chick’s smother, or Steven Armstrong’s snap, you had to go and buy the DVD (in Perth, DVD copies of the 2006 premiership are as common as Thriller).

The DVD did have one great feature – you could select which commentary feed you wanted.

Personally, I always loved Rex Hunt’s fevered call on 3AW.

“Waters … Waters. This is life and death,” Rexy bellowed as Beau Waters hunted the footy like a starving animal.

Alas, I can’t watch it anymore – don’t have a DVD player, not even on my computer.

Earlier this year, the Name a Game service, offering DVD copies of AFL matches stretching back 50 years, announced it was closing.

Beyond Home Entertainment, the company which provided the service, said times had changed.

“The continuation of a bespoke on-demand DVD service has become increasingly unviable in the face of an evolving media landscape that is rapidly moving to digital consumption,” it said.

The AFL app means these days gratification is instant.

Stats, video, audio commentary – whatever your poison, you’re covered.

Club Facebook pages, Twitter profiles and Instagram accounts take you inside the premiership experience like never before.

Plenty of players have public Insta profiles which are followed by thousands.

So my celebration of this flag has been very … digital.

Of course, it hasn’t all been positive.

Back in 2006 you couldn’t start a change.org petition to try and have the result overturned if a couple of decisions didn’t go your way – Change didn’t come online until 2007.

I sincerely hope it doesn’t take until 2030 for us to win another one – but it’s exciting to think what the coverage will be like.