THE 2015 WAFL grand final looked set for a blow-for-blow thriller but degenerated into a blowout as Subiaco outclassed West Perth in a 66-point demolition at Subiaco Oval on Sunday.
The Lions held a mere one-point lead after a high intensity first quarter but claimed control of the match in the second term and took a stranglehold of it in the third to triumph 21.10 (136) to 10.10 (70) in front of 13,094 supporters.
The premiers had a 33-point lead at half-time and sealed victory when they jumped to a 59-point lead at the final break.
The victory earned Subiaco an incredible sixth flag in 12 years and wrote veteran backman Darren Rumble into the history books as only the fourth player in WAFL history to win six flags or more.
Subiaco coach Jarrad Schofield said he could not be any prouder of his side’s efforts to win back-to-back titles.
“We have a fantastic group of players that commit to the program, commit to the footy club… so it’s a club thing but congratulations to the boys who played (on the day),” he said.
Ferocious tackling and impressive goal scoring decorated the early stages of the contest, which had the sides at three goals apiece at quarter-time.
Key Falcons big men Michael Lourey and Marcus Adams provided crowd raisers in the first term, Lourey opening his side’s account with a scything long range set shot on a tight angle and defender Adams bombing one in general play from a similarly difficult position.
Unfortunately for the talented pair, the goals would be the high point of their day as Rumble kept Lourey (one goal) at bay and Bernie Naylor medallist Shane Yarran (five goals) proved too agile for Adams to contain.
Yarran had four goals midway through the second term, leading West Perth coach Bill Monaghan to set Kody Manning, whose fierce approach shines in finals football, on to him later in the contest.
The tattooed aggressor (14 disposals, seven tackles) kept Yarran to one goal in the second half, leaving Simpson medallist Matt Boland to lead the goal kicking with seven majors.
The potent Subiaco forwards were given every opportunity to shine with prime service from the likes of Chris Phelan (29 disposals, eight inside-50s, one goal), Leigh Kitchin (27 disposals, six inside-50s) and Sam Menegola (30 disposals, three inside-50s, one goal).
Tellingly, the Lions had four less inside 50s than the Falcons but were highly efficient, kicking 21 goals from 51 entries compared with their opponents’ 10 from 55.
West Perth’s Andrew Strijk (21 disposals, two goals) was the game’s best player while the Falcons were still in the contest, kicking his second goal early in the second quarter and setting up a range of attacks with his lethal boot from half back.
Falcons grand final debutant Kris Shannon (17 disposals, seven tackles) showed terrific commitment on the big stage.
West Perth midfielders Trent Manzone (30 disposals, seven inside 50s) and Shane Nelson (31 disposals, seven tackles, six inside 50s) toiled hard.
Laine Rasmussen, who Monaghan had ruled as “next to no chance” of playing because of an ankle injury, made a brave appearance, kicking two goals for West Perth.
Former Falcon Jordan Lockyer (16 disposals, nine marks) shone in a Subiaco back six that made life hell for West Perth’s forwards. Big youngster Nick Rodda, normally a brilliant contested marker of the ball inside 50, took just one grab for the match under pressure from the Lions defence.