Western Derby no showcase on dismal night for WA footy

Adam Simpson fires up his players at three-quarter time. Photo: Getty
Adam Simpson fires up his players at three-quarter time. Photo: Getty

IF you were in any doubt about what sort of game Saturday night’s Western Derby was, Adam Simpson let us all know.

“It was a grind, no doubt,” the Eagles coach said.

In fact, the first minute and 42 seconds of Simpson’s post-match press conference was also a bit of a … grind.

“It was a grind, but we’ve had plenty of grinds in the last 12 months,” he went on.

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“We got through a grind.

“Last year we won against Carlton early in the year with just a grind game and I think this was just … one of those nights where it was a grind.”

Well, that’s one word for it.

We’ll use another – it was a stinker, one of the worst games of footy you’ll ever see.

Smile Shannon – you didn’t have to watch the game! Photo: Getty

Certainly nothing close to justifying the endless hype in the week leading up.

One local paper devoted eight pages on Saturday to answering every question imaginable when there was only really one – West Coast by how many?

The Eagles put in a decent shift in the first quarter, hitting third gear in patches while Fremantle blundered everywhere – most crucially in front of the big sticks.

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You could have stuck that Sherrin in an abattoir and it would not have been so thoroughly butchered.

The Eagles, after quarter time, laboured in second gear.

They had an attack of the yips themselves early in the last quarter, booting three behinds when they should have shut the gate.

For most of the night the skills from both sides were poor.

Fremantle still had a sniff late on, and the supporters I spoke to post match seemed reasonably pleased with the endeavour shown and the fact they were able to hold the Eagles’ much vaunted forward line to 69 points.

Small mercies, I suppose.

“Can’t wait to get stuck into the replay of this one.” Photo: Getty

Couple all this with the primary school-level sideshow of the Dockers supporters (well within their rights) booing Andrew Gaff 35 times – and the Eagles supporters cheering to drown them out – this was, in every sense, a forgettable evening.

The Western Derby, in this two-team town, gets far more column inches than it deserves.

You have to cast your mind back a long, long way for the last truly good one.

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Bragging rights aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

The end to a lacklustre night came when a journalist asked Fremantle coach Ross Lyon if he would drive home more heartened or frustrated.

“I don’t know,” Lyon said. “It’s a question without notice, I’d have to get back to you.”

With a wink, he was up and off out into the night.

A “question without notice” at a press conference indeed.

Ross the Boss once again proving he does have the best sense of humour in the AFL.

greig.johnston@communitynews.com.au