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2 for 1 Day this Saturday vs Claremont

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 10:45 AM

This Saturday 1st April marks the Club's first home game for season 2017 on the brand new Lathlain Park oval.

To celebrate, all tickets purchased at the gate permit entry for two and all 2017 members are invited to bring a friend along for free. Kids under the age of 16 are free.

Not a 2017 member yet? Signup here and collect your pack from outside the Goddard Street entrance on Saturday.

Membership Stall: Open from 11am - 2pm. For membership collection and last minute sign ups. It will be located outside the Goddard Street entrance. See below map
Weather: 29°C and sunny
3 Licensed Bars: Bar on the Hill with music, Demon Den and Redlegs Bar. All open from 12 midday. 
Kids Zone: Jumpy castle, free face painting, ice-cream van
Half Time Activities: Kids running races and footy kicking competition
Bike Raffle: All kids under 16 go into the draw to win a free bike
Kick-to-Kick: Bring your footy and have a kick on the new oval at the breaks
Food: Canteen open from 8:30am. Chicken parmiganas with chips and salad available for dinner at post match presentations
Coffee: Coffee will be available from the Cafe2U coffee van located near the McCartney Cresent entrance
Post Match Presentations: All are welcome upstairs in the Main Hall straight after the league game for a drink, dinner and post match presentations
Tickets: $15 for two adults and $12 for two concessions. Under 16s free
Parking: Available at the old bowling club site (corner of Bishopsgate St & Roberts Rd) and the surrounds of Rayment Park.
See below map for parking locations and entrance gates.
Public Transport: Victoria Park Station is located 400m from Lathlain Park and there are numerous nearby bus stops.
Plan your Transperth journey here.


























KEY TIMES

7am: Goddard Street gates open
7:30am: Cafe2U coffee van open
8am: Old bowls club site open for parking. McCartney Cresent gates open
8:25am: Colts bounce down
8:30am: Canteen open
10:55am: Development bounce down
11am: Membership stall opens outside the Goddard Street entry. Merchandise store opens
12 midday: Demon Den, Bar on the Hill and Redlegs Bar all open
1:40pm: League bounce down
2pm: Membership stall closes
2:50pm: Half time little league, kids running races and footy kicking competition
4:30pm: League game concludes. Members and supporters encouraged to head upstairs to the Main Hall for post match presentations
5:00pm: Demon Den and Bar on the Hill close. Redlegs Bar (Upstairs) remains open til late. Dinner available for purchase
6:00pm: Post match presentations begin. Redlegs bar open til late

Third term nap costs Perth

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 11:55 AM

A two goal to six third quarter saw Perth squander another strong start, with Subiaco running away 23-point victors on Saturday evening.

The Demons went into the half time break with an eight point lead, however a 15 minute third term purple patch from Subiaco gave them a three goal lead at the final change.

The 2016 grand finalists held on in the fourth, defeating a spirited Perth outfit 13.12 (90) to 10.7 (67).

Perth were again restricted to two men on the bench in the second half, with Brant Colledge (hamstring) and Anton Scotney (ribs) both going down in the second quarter.

2016 colt Kristian Morisey, who replaced the injured Michael Sinclair (achillies), performed strongly in his league debut amassing 14 disposals down back.

Read the full match report here.

See the photo album here.

Match summary and statistics here.

SUBIACO        3.0    5.4    11.6    13.12    (90)

PERTH            3.4    6.6    8.6    10.7    (67)

PERTH – Goals: Narrier, White 2; Garstone, Scotney, McFarlane, Walley, Jones, Roe.
Best: Byrne, Jones, Tropiano, Edmonds, Ninyette, Narrier.

Round 2 Teams vs Subiaco

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 5:47 PM

Round 2: Subiaco vs Perth
Saturday 25th March 2017 | Medibank Stadium, Leederville

Follow all three games live from 11am Saturday HERE.


League 4:15pm
Met on two occasions in 2016
Round 4 at Medibank Stadium - Subiaco by 50 points
Round 16 at Lathlain Park - Perth by 15 points

25-man League Squad:
Devin McFarlane
Lennon Marlin
Laine Wilkins
Aidan Tropiano
Spencer White
Sam Garstone
**Kurtis Chester
Cody Ninyette
Brent Edmonds
Corey Byrne
Clint Jones (c)
Tom Gooch
Christian Eyres
**Kristian Morisey
Brent Latch
Clayton Giblett
Zareth Roe
Callum Walley
Gordon Narrier
Michael Sinclair
Anton Scotney
**Brennan Stack
Blake Johnson
Liam McKenna
Brant Colledge

**Inclusions


Development 1:30pm
Met on two occasions in 2016
Round 4 at Medibank Stadium - Subiaco by 43 points
Round 16 at Lathlain Park - Draw

20-man Squad (to be joined by 3 League emergencies)
Marshall Jones
Mitchell Browne
Andies Mercer
Braden Piggott
Brad McPhail
Taran Etto
Callum Papertalk
Chris Leonard
Mitchell Henderson
Guy Piggot
Tim Sutherland
Jarlath Duke
Joshua Burke
Jayden Johnstone
John Levien
Callum Marshall
Zachary Hill
Shaun Smith
Dakota Baldwin-Wright
Cody KIckett
 

Colts 11:00am
Met on two occasions in 2016
Round 4 at Medibank Stadium - Perth by 53 points
Round 16 at Lathlain Park - Perth by 45 points

28-man Squad
Luke English
Simon Hayward
Trent Simpson
Ethan Hansen
Corey Taylor
Regan Flaherty
Nic Taylor
Jason Hemphill
Caelen Bennell
Brodey Eades
Zac Edgelow
Chilton Yarran
Scott Williams
Aaron French
Zak Tanner
Blake Simpson
Nykia John
Damien Bennell
Tennasey Wybenga
Zac Casey
Sydney Stack
Christian Kesich
Cedric Anderson
Blake Little
Lindsay Martin
Jared Wynne
Bobby Hill
Aidan Conway

Round 2 twilight tussle with the Lions

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 9:31 AM
The Demons this week venture to Leederville to take on 2016 grand finalists Subiaco in a quadruple header, with the league game commencing at the later time of 4:15pm.
 
After a gallant round one performance which saw the young Demons go down narrowly to an experienced Swan Districts outfit, this weekend's clash becomes an important one.
 
Subiaco are coming off a round one loss at the hands of South Fremantle, going down 11.11 (77) to 17.14 (116).
 
Perth and Subiaco met twice last year.
Round 4 at Leederville Oval: Subiaco 14.9 (93) defeated Perth 4.19 (43)
Round 16 at Lathlain Park: Perth 6.6 (42) defeated Subiaco 4.3 (27)

Despite sustaining injuries last weekend, Aidan Tropiano and Devin McFarlane both appear to have recovered well and are set to line up on Saturday.
 
Potential round two inclusions include Kurtis Chester, Kristian Morisey, Zach Hill, Taran Etto, Brennan Stack and Callum Papertalk who all performed strongly in the Development side's 50-point win last weekend.
 
Team selection to come from 7pm tonight (23rd March).
 
For a more in depth preview of this Saturday's clash as well as a round one review, listen to last night's episode 2 of DeeRadio here.
 

Follow all three games live from 11am Saturday HERE.

League 4:15pm

25-man League Squad:
Devin McFarlane
Lennon Marlin
Laine Wilkins
Aidan Tropiano
Spencer White
Sam Garstone
**Kurtis Chester
Cody Ninyette
Brent Edmonds
Corey Byrne
Clint Jones (c)
Tom Gooch
Christian Eyres
**Kristian Morisey
Brent Latch
Clayton Giblett
Zareth Roe
Callum Walley
Gordon Narrier
Michael Sinclair
Anton Scotney
**Brennan Stack
Blake Johnson
Liam McKenna
Brant Colledge

**Inclusions


Development 1:30pm
Met on two occasions in 2016
Round 4 at Medibank Stadium - Subiaco by 43 points
Round 16 at Lathlain Park - Draw

20-man Squad (to be joined by 3 League emergencies)
Marshall Jones
Mitchell Browne
Andies Mercer
Braden Piggott
Brad McPhail
Taran Etto
Callum Papertalk
Chris Leonard
Mitchell Henderson
Guy Piggot
Tim Sutherland
Jarlath Duke
Joshua Burke
Jayden Johnstone
John Levien
Callum Marshall
Zachary Hill
Shaun Smith
Dakota Baldwin-Wright
Cody KIckett
 

Colts 11:00am
Met on two occasions in 2016
Round 4 at Medibank Stadium - Perth by 53 points
Round 16 at Lathlain Park - Perth by 45 points

28-man Squad
Luke English
Simon Hayward
Trent Simpson
Ethan Hansen
Corey Taylor
Regan Flaherty
Nic Taylor
Jason Hemphill
Caelen Bennell
Brodey Eades
Zac Edgelow
Chilton Yarran
Scott Williams
Aaron French
Zak Tanner
Blake Simpson
Nykia John
Damien Bennell
Tennasey Wybenga
Zac Casey
Sydney Stack
Christian Kesich
Cedric Anderson
Blake Little
Lindsay Martin
Jared Wynne
Bobby Hill
Aidan Conway


 
KEY TIMES
7:30am Gates Open (1,2 & 3)
8:30am 16’s bouncedown
9:00am- Expresso Delight Open – Subi Alfresco
9:00am – The Handsome Stranger Coffee
11:00am – Subi Bar Open
11:00am – Colts bouncedown
11:00am – Topolinis To – Go Open – Subi Alfresco
1:30pm – Development bouncedown
2:00pm – Team Store Open- located at Subi front office
2:00pm – Membership Stall – located at Subi front office
2:30pm – Behind the goal Bar open – Located northern end of ground
4:15pm- League bouncedown
 
Tickets
Purchase from any of the three gates on game day.  Adult Tickets $15. Concession Tickets $12. Under 16s Free.
 
Parking                                               
Parking is available at the Loftus Recreation Centre, street parking on Richmond Street, and various car parks throughout Leederville.
You can also catch public transport to the game, please check out Transperth website to find the best route to Medibank Stadium, Leederville.

Food Outlets
Topolinis ToGo - located in the Subi Alfresco just off the Subiaco Bar. Grab yourself a hamburger, hot dog, footy chips and lots more. Topolinis ToGo provides great food at a good price.
 
Xpresso Delight- Need a coffee, stop by Expresso Delight and grab a hot coffee and cake. Xpresso Delight will be open from 9:00am.
 
Food Van- Located behind the goals on the Northern end of Leederville Oval.
 
Drink Outlets
Subiaco Bar will be open from 11:00am and is open to all ticket holders.
 
East Perth Bar will be open from 2:00 until 6:30 located at the Southern End of Leederville Oval.
 
Behing the Goal Bar – located behind the goals at the Northern End and will be open from 2:30pm.
 
The Handsome Stranger Coffee will be open from 9:00am.
 
Kick-to-kick
Bring your footies and have a kick on Leederville Oval during the breaks.
 
#WAFL Selfie
WA footy fans have the chance to win a family pass to the WAFL each week by simply posting a photo of themselves at a WAFL match on social media. Fans must use #WAFLselfie in the caption to be in the running to win.

 

Round 1 Preview vs Swan Districts

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 7:12 PM

Round 1: Swan Districts vs Perth
Saturday 18th March 2017 | Steel Blue Oval, Bassendean

Follow all three games live from 9am Saturday here

League 2:15pm
Teams HERE

2016 colts Zarath Roe, Anton Scotney, Blake Johnson, Gordon Narrier and Tom Gooch will all make their league debuts on Saturday.

Met on three occasions in 2016
Round 8 at Lathlain Park - Perth by 41 points
Round 12 at Steel Blue Oval - Perth by 54
Round 22 at Steel Blue Oval - Perth by 50

25-man League Squad:
Devin McFarlane
Lennon Marlin
Laine Wilkins
Aidan Tropiano
Spencer White
Kurtis Chester
Sam Garsonte
Cody Ninyette
Brent Edmonds
Corey Byrne
Clint Jones (c)
Tom Gooch
Christian Eyres
Brent Latch
Clayton Giblett
Zareth Roe
Callum Walley
Mitchell Henderson
Gordon Narrier
Michael Sinclair
Anton Scotney
Kristian Morisey
Blake Johnson
Liam McKenna
Brant Colledge
 

Development 11:30am
Met on three occasions in 2016
Round 8 at Lathlain Park - Perth by 24 points
Round 12 at Steel Blue Oval - Swan Districts by 1 point
Round 22 at Steel Blue Oval - Swan Districts by 16 points

20-man Squad (to be joined by 3 League emergencies)
Marshall Jones
Mitchell Browne
Andies Mercer
Braden Piggott
Brad McPhail
Taran Etto
Callum Papertalk
Brennan Stack
Daniel Horan
Guy Piggot
Tim Sutherland
Jarlath Duke
Joshua Burke
Jayden Johnstone
John Levien
Callum Marshall
Zachary Hill
Shaun Smith
Dakota Baldwin-Wright
Matt Thompson
 

Colts 9:00am
Met on three occasions in 2016
Round 8 at Lathlain Park - Perth by 20 points
Round 12 at Steel Blue Oval - Swan Districts by 4 points
Round 22 at Steel Blue Oval - Swan Districts by 12 points

26-man Squad
Luke English
Simon Hayward
Trent Simpson
Tynam McNamara
Ethan Hansen
Corey Taylor
Regan Flaherty
Nicholas Taylor
Jason Hemphill
Caelen Bennell
Brodey Eades
Zac Edgelow
Chilton Yarran
Scott Williams
Aaron French
Zak Tanner
Blake Simpson
Nykia John
Damien Bennell
Tennasay Wybenga
Zac Casey
Sydney Stack
Christian Kesich
Jarrod Schofield
Cedric Anderson
Blake Little

Exciting young brigade give Spalding reason for Demons hope

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 10:13 AM - by Chris Pike

PERTH might have suffered some blows on the eve of the 2017 WAFL season in terms of injuries and departures, but coach Earl Spalding has every reason to be excited and expecting further improvement with his young brigade coming through.

The Demons showed improvement in 2017 winning seven games including a purple patch between Rounds 12 and 16 winning four of five before losing four straight to fall out of finals contention.

It was an improvement on previous seasons and now despite the loss of some key players and injuries to others, there's good reason for optimism about further growth with the Demons in 2017.

From last year's team, Perth has lost captain Dene White, former AFL ruckman Angus Graham, and experienced wingman Brett Wolfenden with Zac Fisher and Matthew Taylor entering the AFL.

Potential recruits back to the club from the AFL Tendai Mzungu and Clem Smith haven’t quite eventuated either for various reasons. Injuries to Jared Bell, Cody Leggett, Lachlan Dennis, Lennon Marlin, Kristian Cary and Jarrad Irons will delay their starts to the season.

There is plenty of good news to offset all that, though, with the Demons welcoming back another local product Brandt Colledge from West Coast.

Defenders Clayton Giblett (East Perth) and Brad McPhail (South Fremantle) also add some depth and size down back while former Peel Thunder running backman Devin McFarlane could prove a more than handy recruit.

Former Swan Districts big man Nelson Ansey is another late arrival and could prove handy.

New captain Clint Jones along Butcher Medallist Michael Sinclair, Sandover Medallist Aidan Tropiano along with Spencer White, Liam McKenna, Julian Jacobs, Brent Latch, Brent Edmonds, Sam Garstone and Christian Eyres form a good core group.

It's the young players that will get their chances that is most exciting for Spalding, though, including Cody Ninyette, Corey Byrne, Clint Chivers, Zach Hill, Jayden Johnstone, Chris Leonard, Justin Morisey, Anton Scotney, Gordon Narrier, Joseph Ugle and Cody Kickett who he won't be afraid to throw in the deep end.

"We have lost quite a bit of experience but some of the kids coming in are really exciting. They might take a while but we are going to be patient with them because we know if we are, and they can get to where we think they can, they are going to be pretty exciting," Spalding told wafl.com.au.

"With kids coming up, it gives you the opportunity to mould them the way you want them to play and they aren’t broken toys as such who have their own traits. It allows you to have an impact on how you want them to play so it's going to be interesting to see it unfold.

"I don’t want to overstate it, but there are some exciting kids here. They will make mistakes at times and it might frustrate our supporters, but when it clicks there is going to be some very exciting times ahead."

Spalding was relatively pleased with the growth shown by the Demons last year and knew it was going to take some time to become a finals contender from where the group was coming from when he took over ahead of the 2015 season.

"It's hard to judge success and it's always gauged against expectation, and last year I think we exceeded expectations in my mind. We were coming from quite a fair way back, so you can't expect to jump up from nowhere and succeed straightaway if you want to build for sustained success," he said.

"It's about taking those baby steps to be really competitive in games, and we were probably a chance to win 80 per cent of our games deep into the last quarter.

"Youth probably cost us some wins as much as anything as well as a lack of confidence, but the fact we were in them for so long was pleasing and we had some big wins. We beat Subi in terrible conditions who are a big-bodied side and it showed what happens if you put the effort in."

Perth's season begins Saturday against Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval. Spalding hopes the Demons can take some confidence out of their impressive pre-season win over West Perth in their last hit out.

"It's hard to know if you are ever ready for it really and we have a few guys injured who we'd like to be playing, but I'm sure we're not alone with that," Spalding said.

"We've got five or six guys who won't be ready for Round 1 but the kids showed last week against West Perth that there's some depth of talent at the club. Some of it is pretty raw but those kids will get an opportunity and we'll see how we go.

"It's good to win to get your confidence up especially after we were so poor the week before against Peel when quite a few people were scratching their heads and questioning where we're going.

"It all turned around last weekend with a good pressure game and we moved the ball as well as we have. Everything got a tick in the right box and that gives us a bit of confidence they should be up and about now for Round 1."

Perth has good reason to expect a big season from Colledge as he returns from his time in the AFL with the Eagles. Capable of playing through the middle and up forward, he is a smooth mover with good skills.

"I'm a big wrap on him. He didn’t have a great year last year by his high standards, but he still contributed and the year before he was unbelievable. We know what we are getting back to the club and he loves Perth, and he has fitted right back in with the playing group," he said.

"He has had his shoulder issue which we hope will be right for Round 1 and he might be a bit underdone, but we know the value of him out there with his experience, big body and he uses the ball pretty well.

"He does give us the option of playing him forward if we need him to as well as playing through the middle where he'll definitely play chunks."

Perth desperately needed to add some depth and size to its defence and that's where the arrival of Giblett from the Royals and McPhail from the Bulldogs will be crucial to give some support to Latch who battled manfully last year as well.

"Clayton has been fantastic down back. He takes that No. 1 forward from the opposition and defends him, and then we can use our more creative defenders to give us that rebound run which we saw work against West Perth," Spalding said.

"Brad didn’t have a great game down at Peel so we pushed him back against West Perth and he was very good. He's going to be a really solid defender for us so if we get some good rebound run around him, he can take the key guys. He will come back in at some stage during the year and we are looking forward to that."

Former St Kilda big man Spencer White showed how dangerous he could be up forward kicking 12 goals in his last five games last year after battle an ankle injury.

Garstone showed good signs too as a forward target and Spalding is looking forward that combination and developing, and with getting a full season out of White.

"Having a fit Spencer White is really important for our forward-line and Sam Garstone has taken another step forward in his development so he is going to be an exciting player for us as well," he said.

"When Spencer came over he obviously had the ankle injury from surgery at the end of 2015 and couldn’t do a lot of work on it. Then when he started working he got stress fractures and he had a really frustrating year.

"But when he kicked five in that first half against Swans it showed us what we've got and he can be a bit frustrating at times, but he's a really likeable guy and will be hard to play on. We think we can put together a dangerous forward-line and we showed that with 22 goals against West Perth even though it was only a practice match."

Clem Smith had committed to return after his time in the AFL with Carlton but that hasn’t eventuated. Spalding won't rule out his return at some point but Graham's time as a WAFL ruckman is over.

"Clem's not at the club anymore but the door is always open for him. He has to understand the work that he needs to do to get to the level that we all know he can play at. Hopefully he will make that decision to come back at some stage but that's where it's at really," Spalding said.

"Angus has gone back to Melbourne. I had a good chat to him the other week and his head and heart just aren’t in it.

"Whilst it's disappointing it's better he makes that decision now instead of trying to play and giving little effort. He is going to be a hole in the team that's for sure but Eyresy gets the chance to step up and I still have a great deal of faith in him playing that role and giving us the contest that we need."

Eyres will now be the man that the Demons look to as their No. 1 ruckman and Spalding hopes he can stay healthy. He will be able to get some support potentially from former West Perth ruckman Tim Sutherland while the likes of Nelson Ansey, White and Garstone can pinch-hit.

"He (Eyres) is a physio so a lot of it might have to do with self-diagnosis, but he is a good fella and works hard. He does have a streak of aggression in him but we have to keep poking it to find it at times. When he's playing his best footy he can be a handful," he said.

"Nelson has a bit of work to do after not doing a pre-season, but he is already showing glimpses at training that he can certainly play and can be a handful at whichever end he ends up playing. He adds some depth to our talls which is always important to be a successful team."

Spalding is also happy with the coaching group he has around him coming into 2017 particularly the arrival of former Hawthorn and East Perth left-footer Garry Moss.

"Mossy has been huge for us coming in with a modern footy brain and he has been working on our defensive mechanisms," Spalding said.

"We've wanted to do that and Mossy has shown an easier way of doing that to the group which has been fantastic. We've got Chance (Bateman) too and we are getting some modern voices into the playing group which is great for the young guys." 

Liquor Barons Carlisle take out 2017 Corporate Classic

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 2:56 PM

Congratulations to Liquor Barons Carlisle who last night won the 2017 Corporate Classic prize draw, ahead of Vic Park Autocare and KC Sports.

1st Prize: Liquor Barons Carlisle
Two prominent signs at Lathlain Park for season 2017 and $3000 worth of advertising with Community News

2nd Prize: Victoria Park Autocare
Logo on 2017 League and Development playing shorts for season 2017 (home and away)

3rd Prize: KC Sports
A match day acknowledgement including a table for 10 at a Presidents Lunch


Perth Football Club wishes to thank all 2017 Corporate Classic participants for their support.
 

2017 Player Auction groups and prizes

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 12:41 PM

Groups and prizes for this Saturday evening's Player Auction have been finalised.

Weekly prizes include $100 if the best League player is in your group, and $50 if the best Development player is in your group.

End of year prizes include (if the following player is in your group):
Butcher Medal (League) Winner - $1000 
Greg Brehaut Award (Development Squad) Winner - $500 
Doug Buckingham Memorial Trophy (Best Junior) Winner - $500

If you are unable to attend on the night but would like to place a bid, please email your name, contact number, the group you wish to bid on and your bid amount to daniel@perthdemons.com.au by 5pm Saturday 11th March. Alternatively, you can phone the Club on 9362 4499. Please note, GST will be added to final bids.

The 2017 Player Auction will be held at this Saturday night's Season Launch function. All members, sponsors and supporters are encouraged to come along.
Tickets are only $35 and are available here.

Group 1:
Aidan Tropiano
Clayton Giblett
Brad McPhail
Chris Leonard
Joshua Burke
Clint Chivers
Brayden Dos Santos

Group 2:
Brant Colledge
Brennan Stack
Corey Byrne
Zachary Hill
Callum Marshall
Abdul Bility
Nixon Hamlet

Group 3:
Liam McKenna
Lennon Marlin
Callum Papertalk
Matt Thompson
Mitchell Henderson
Daniel Horan

Group 4:
Spencer White
Kristian Cary
Anton Scotney
Kasey Nicholas
Andries Mercer
Jarlath Duke

Group 5:
Julian Jacobs
Brent Edmonds
Cody Kickett
Guy Piggott
Shaun Smith
Blake Johnson
Sam Perkusich
 

Group 6:
Michael Sinclair
Taran Etto
Marshall Jones
Braden Piggott
Cedric Anderson
Tim Sutherland
Lachlan Dennis

Group 7:
Cody Leggett
Callum Walley
Laine Wilkins
Kurtis Chester
Gordon Narrier
Josh Siegert
Tom Gooch

Group 8:
Brent Latch
Cody Ninyette
Zareth Roe
Mitch Browne
Garang Bulkosh
Nelson Ansey
Jared Bell

Group 9:
Christian Eyres
Devin McFarlane
Jarrad Irons
John Levien
Arnold Punch
Joseph Ugle

Group 10:
Clint Jones
Sam Garstone
Kristian Morisey
Jayden Johnstone
Brad Pattison
Caelan Bennell

Lathlain Park ready to go

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 11:01 AM

Lathlain Park will host all of the Club's home games in 2017.

Representatives from BCL Group, NS Projects, West Coast Eagles and Perth met last Thursday where it was confirmed the surface will be ready in time for the Club's first home game on April 1.

Works on the oval began last August, with the grass seeded in November.

The oval is 165 metres long and 130 metres wide, replicating the exact dimensions of the new Perth Stadium.

 

Football Flashback: Malcom Atwell Opens Up

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 11:34 AM

The Western Australian football world was shocked when Perth appointed rugged East Perth defender Malcom Atwell as captain-coach for the 1966 season. It was a giant gamble by Perth, which had generally preferred "insiders" as league coach. But the move paid handsome dividends.

ATWELL had played in two East Perth premiership teams, captained the Royals in 1964, and been one of the first to be picked for State games. He was full-back in WA's winning side at the Australian National Football Council's 1961 Brisbane Carnival.

It's now history that ATWELL led Perth to three successive premierships, 1966-67-68. He remains the club's most successful coach.

On the eve of his 80th birthday on March 5, and the start of the 2017 season, ATWELL spoke frankly about his years at Perth with Peter Kennedy. This is an edited account of that interview.

 

Q. Mal, after 162 games there at East Perth and with considerable success, you applied to be captain-coach of Perth. Where did that idea come from?

A. It came from a chat with John O'Connell in Cliff Houghton's show room (Lynas Motors) in Hay Street Perth behind the Melbourne Hotel. John and I were talking about football - he'd been to Melbourne and played with Geelong. We talked about Allen Aylett and we talked about Bob Skilton - won something like four Brownlows -  a state game I played on those two players, they were the bloody rovers and I was playing on these two guys and I think we won that game ... and Skilton I played on.....  never be as good as them as long as I played. They were good footballers. Mightn't get the hard ball (like I did) but they were good players with lots of ability and skill. 

I saw that the Perth Football Club couldn't come to any satisfactory conclusion with them (as the new coach) so I said to Johnny O'Connell: 'John, maybe I should have a go at coaching' and he said 'yea, maybe you should'. So that's where I got to know Cliff Houghton no, Jack McNamara, because at that stage Cliff was down the track a bit. But McNamara was a friend of Jack Sheedy's and often drank at the Carlton and I used to go there quite often and have a chat with Jack in 1965, because he'd been replaced at East Perth Football Club by Kevin Murray, who's another great player and good guy. And he was another reason - if Kevin Murray can coach surely I can too. Us back men have to have something going for us!

As a result of that I went to see Jack McNamara one day at the Carlton Hotel and I said 'I'm interested in coaching at Perth' and told him what my story was and he was keen and listened to me and went away and came back in a very short space of time and said 'well you've got the job, when can you start?'

And I'll never forget the first day walking into the Perth Football Club in 1965 - about October it was -  I walked into the room and I was about the tallest player in the room. I thought 'Geez, where are we going to get a ruckman from'? There was Tommy Davis who wasn't sure whether he was going to play or not, what a wonderful guy he is,  and there was Paddy Astone who was only six foot tall - I didn't think he could jump but didn't realise how good he was, he was a super star - and I turned around and looked at the door and two blokes walked through the door and their names were Barry Chittleborough and Graeme  White. 

And Barry Chittleborough played in every successful team. Whitey was probably unlucky that he would have got more work but Barry sort of hogged the limelight.

Q.  But you did set a condition on taking the coaching job?

A.  Yea I did. I was pretty adamant with Mac. At that time Barry Cable was talking about going to Melbourne , to Carlton I think it was. I said if I come to Lathlain as a playing coach or coach, Barry Cable has to stay. I never changed that view.  And he did stay and it's to Barry's credit - Barry's a great West Australian. He went to Melbourne and took them on and beat 'em But he's always come back with Western Australia number one in his heart. He's always been a West Aussie boy.

Q. Did you feel you had something to prove, taking it on?

A. I just thought it was the next step. It was a stepping stone in my career as a footballer, or football coach. I was captain of East Perth in 1964, '65 I was vice-captain. Coached the team when Kevin couldn't go to Melbourne, Sydney it was, but I just thought it was the next thing to do. I'd got to a stage where I was 28, I needed a new incentive.

Q. What did you aim to instil in the players as captain-coach?

A. I had a definite philosophy. I didn't take 'no' for an answer very often .... I was very determined that we were going to put a set of rules in place that everybody would adhere to. I was a disciplinarian myself. Sheedy was strong on us. I think it brushed off on me what Jack taught me.

Q. So he was an influence on you, Jack?

A. Big influence. Jack's always been a big influence on all his players.

Q. Commitment? Fitness? How would you describe it?

A. I think it was all round with Jack. .....  There weren't many players who could outrun me in football - if there were any - over 130 yards. I won the Whyalla Gift that year , 1964 or '65, and beat the Australian sprint champion in that, Ken Irvine (the rugby player), and I went to Perth convinced I was not going to be influenced by every day involvement in the structure of the club. I was going to be my own person and I thought that was the only way - by standing back.

I was lucky that I was able to secure Jack Ensor (as assistant coach) because he had retired then. I don't know if Jack had put in for the job but Jack's a fine man and unfortunately he has left us but at that time I went out to Maddington and saw him and his wife Eleanor. I went there and spoke with Jack and he was bowing out of his involvement with the club. He wanted a bit of a break. I was talking to him quietly and it took a bit of convincing to get him to come.

I offered him the assistant coach's job. 'You're not coming to be the Seconds coach, you're coming to be my right hand. I'll need a right hand, because I'm going to play'. I had the fella who'd inherited all the great years of Ernie Henfry, to be my right hand.

Ernie was a good bloke, a wonderful man. He'd done a great job, been a great footballer and the club had chosen a new direction but there was Jack Ensor who was really influenced by Henfry  for all those years, and all to my advantage. So I got a Cable, I got a Jack Ensor, and I got all the knowledge of Henfry at the same time.

Q. And Jack had guided a lot of those young players?

A. Jack had guided all those young players. All of those fellas. They were his mates. They really were, and he was very close to them. If we had a problem with them Jack would sort it out. If I sorted it out they usually got a kick in the bum. And there was nobody after me so that was it.

Cliff said 'you run that and I'll run the bloody club'.  Cliff Houghton came along after I got there and at the next AGM Cliff was the president. And that was one of the great relationships I had in my life.

Cliff was a man of great character. He stood very tall in my mind and I used to meet him every Monday morning after a game and I'd walk up the stairs to his daughter's desk and she'd say 'sit down for a moment Mal and I'll get Dad'.  And I'd have a chat with Cliff and not many knew about it - every Monday morning Cliff and I would meet .

Q. What did you talk about?

A. The game. The club. Football. It was all football and a bit of business because I was an assessor ..... . They all became my supporters down there and the second premiership we won there was (a banner) 'All The Way With Malcolm A', down at the RAC. It was quite a big banner out the front. 

Cliff Houghton and I became very close friends and had the utmost respect for one another. He'd say on Monday to me: 'Mal, I think this was wrong or that was right or we should do this or we should do that'. But he'd never do that in the rooms.

Q. Leading by example as captain coach. Was that uppermost in your mind?

A. That's what it's all about, isn't it! You can be there when he has to be. My view was that we had some champion players in Cabes, Pagey, Paddy Dalton, Greg Brehaut, Ray Mills, Bobby Shields, Paddy Astone, Graham Ramshaw ...  they were all highly talented players. Who else was there? Graham Jenzen, Maxie Jancey, and the list goes on. I'd come together with all this talent and was able to get them all on the right track . So the rules and regulations and discipline I put in place and the leadership I showed them was able to get it out of them . My involvement on the ground was as a 'general' but at the same time being able to contribute when I needed to.

Q. In 1966, the season is under way, when did you start thinking that a premiership was a real possibility?

A. I thought that right from the start, otherwise I wouldn't have been there. I didn't go there to run second, mate, I went there to win.  I never ran second anywhere. I was very lucky. You see when I joined East Perth they had Polly (Farmer). And we won in '58. They won in '56, lost '57, I won '58 and '59. Sixty one we got beat by Swans. I played in five grand finals - actually seven grand finals and won five - three at Perth. How lucky was I? Not many players have had that luck. Good judgment!

Q. I always thought it was time and place Mal.

A. That's what I told Colin. 

Q. Sixty six, premiership?

A. Outstanding it was. We stood on top of a bloody caravan at Lathlain Park with Cliff Houghton. It was the most exciting time of my life. 

Q. Why was that?

A. We'd won the premiership.

Q. You'd nearly kicked yourselves out of the game didn't you?

A. One goal 12 or something (third quarter). They weren't going to get beat that day mate! They were just there to win. I came to win. they learned to win. If I'd made a difference I'd taught them how to win. 

Q. Barry kicked 6 goals?

A. Barry could kick 10 if he'd wanted to. He's a great player. Great bloke. Good boy he is.

Q. Sixty six - you say that was the most exciting?

A. Well, when you get back to Lathlain Park and the oval's covered with Demons and people everywhere - there were thousands there. and you'd wondered what you'd done. How did you do this?  I thought 'we've won the premiership, how did we do that? Because everybody wanted to win. They were tired of getting beat.

Q. Then followed '67 and '68. Which was the hardest premiership?

A. They're all hard. Every one of them. Not over till the last kick. I think the best side might have been '68 perhaps. Sixty seven? I kicked six goals one - that must have been the best game. When I kicked six goals - I'd been suspended, remember, at Fremantle. I got three bloody weeks but it turned into six because it came into the final round and we were on top of the ladder.

So I had six weeks out and was going to play and I couldn't work out where I was going to play. There was never any doubt in my mind that I was going to play. Where I was going to play? And the night I told the players - unbelievable it was. They all looked at me as if I was mad. I said 'I'm going to play full forward'. I told then why I was playing full forward. They didn't argue with that. They all thought I was mad - 'he can't be going down there'.

Q. No one would believe you would they?

A. Nobody would. I said to the boys: 'This is not to go out of the room'. It's the best kept secret in football. The day I ran on to the ground and ran down to the other end of the ground, nobody knew, nobody.

Q. But you'd been seen practising kicking for goal!

A. The night before we left the oval I had a few kicks - a few drop punts in the dark. There were a few lights on but it was quite dark. That was a good year. They were drop punts - I didn't have to kick too far.

 I used to kick a few droppies when I was full back - in '61 I kicked droppies - the state side, we won the carnival that year with Sheed.

I've had a lot of luck when you think about it. East Perth, went to Brisbane for the Carnival, went to Perth - coached them - It's all about timing isn't it! Just luck - how things happen.

Q. Are you lucky or do you make your own luck?

A. If I hadn't gone to East Perth at that time - I'd had good players in the South Suburban where I was playing, I thought they were better than I was. Barry Rayment was one.

Now if he had gone to East Perth he would have played probably in three premierships. He didn't play in any. And look at this guy who's just come out of the Dockers -  captain, Matthew Pavlich - he never played in a premiership team. It's the greatest success you can have in life - football life. To be part of a team. Because what happens, all of those players ....... they become your brothers for life. They really do.

Q. How important were Jack Ensor and Barry Cable in that success? 

A. On the ground there was nobody more important (than Barry) was there! And off the ground there was nobody more important than Jack. And I was in between them. How lucky was I to have great fellas who I could relate to who worked with me, and I could be quite dogmatic at times if I wanted my own way and one of the conditions I had when I came to Perth was that I'd be sole selector. It was one of my conditions because, like I said earlier, I didn't want any outside influences making the old judgments. I wanted to have a new judgment about  everybody and, at the end of it, I would have to make the decision.

And as it turned out I turned all those guys into equal to me. I didn't stand over them but by gaining their confidence we all worked together and we got our successful teams and we sorted out our list. The players that had to go. There were mates who'd been kept there for a long while and great Perth men. But not good enough. So we had to move 'em. Didn't fit in to where we were going.

Q. You retired as a player after the '69 season but you've since expressed regret that you didn't play on another year.

A. I made a mistake that year. 1970 (grand final) - had two reserves, Bryan Cousins and Richard Peel. In the last quarter I had to replace one of our players and I put Peel on, I should have put Cousins on. I didn't put Cousins on because I was concerned - he was only 17 and thought he might get injured. It was a heavy day and he was a bloody good player and I didn't want to see him injured at all.

The reason I gave up as playing coach was that I could see there wasn't a great deal of time left for me to do that and I had to adjust to just being a coach, and it was a good opportunity to do it while we were on top. And it gave me a chance to put Chubby (Stiles) in. And Chubby became a back pocket player.

He could have played anywhere Chubby, he was a good player. But he was just unlucky - as a rover we had Jenno (Jenzen) and Cable and Bennett - we had players coming out of our ears, juniors in those days who could all rove. And that made it difficult for Allan to get in but when he got in he made that his place and stayed there.

Q. Looking back, what was your most satisfying moment at Perth?

A. (pause) Premiership in 1966. We sat on top of the caravan with Cliff and spoke to the members and told them we'd won the grand final. If they didn't already know! I couldn't work out how we'd got there (laughs). You think about it - a hard year's football, it goes so quickly, and all of a sudden you've won the premiership. You think 'how'd we do that?'

Q. But you'd already played in two at East Perth?

A. Oh yea, that was my strength probably. See, I knew what was needed to win a grand final. I knew the attitude that had to be there and the commitment that had to be there. And what the results were going to be there if you won it. I do remember thinking that night on the top of the caravan 'oh how the devil did we do that?'

We did it because we had fellas like Tom Davis - he came back. The Tom Davis story you know. He approached me. Was he going to play? He said Ernie hadn't included him in the last game for '65. There was nothing detrimental about it ..  about Ern. Ern hadn't given him that game. And there might have been someone else who didn't give it to him for all I know. And I never got involved in 'what happened yesterday'. I'm more interested in today and tomorrow. And I've always been like that.

I played in seven grand finals and won five. Not many have done that.

Q. A couple of quick questions. Toughest opponent?

A. Dinny Barron (Subiaco). One of the strongest men you could ever come across. Went to Brisbane in '61. He didn't get in the team (v Victoria). I played full back that year and we won the Carnival. He came home - he used to have fits. Barron - he hit me on the ground at Subi Oval and it took me an hour to get up. Tough man. He's the toughest man I've ever played against.

The other bloke was the bloke who played for West Perth. (Ray) Gabelich then went back to Collingwood. And he came at me at Perth Oval one day and I disappeared. Phew ...  he went passed me (laughs). I'd never take him on.

Q. He couldn't get up much speed could he?

A. He got up plenty of speed that day when he was looking at me. I can still see him in front of the grandstand running at me (laughs).  But he was my teammate in Brisbane and he helped us up there (Carnival). He sorted a few out there. Sure did.

Q. Best opponent? 

A: Several of them were very good. Perth had one by the name of Bob Coleman. I was very disappointed when he went to the country and wanted to be a policeman. He had a great future with the club because I knew he was an exceptionally good player. Unused talent. Even to this day I think he must regret that he didn't go on with it, because he would have kicked 150 goals. I played on him and found him very difficult.

Opponents that I played on ...... Ron Evans played at West Perth, he was a good player. One who was physical was from Claremont, Allan Mycock. He could play football. He was a good player. He wasn't a 'Claremont player', he was an 'East Perth player' playing for Claremont! He was a 'toughie'.

The other player that East Perth had was (Keith) Doncon. He was a good player and a great opponent. At East Fremantle there were fellows like Con Regan, he was a great competitor. He was shorter than I was but he could play anywhere - full back, centre half back, centre half forward, full forward. I said to him one day when we were playing on East Fremantle Oval and I got the first two or three kicks. I said 'Con, you're not getting much today' and I never saw the ball again. I learned to shut my trap that day.

Q: Best player of your era?

A: That's a hard one. What are you trying to do? Cable and Farmer. Obvious, isn't it? Two of the best players that you'd ever come across. In my case I was fortunate enough to have coached them and played with them. Coached them both.

I coached Polly in '69 in the Carnival team. I made him a reserve and Marlene (Polly's wife) never spoke to me for three years. I said to Pol, 'Pol, you're in the squad, you're at the end of your career, and you've been injured quite a bit up to getting in the side. I want to win the Carnival, I'm not here to lose it, I'm going to run Roberts on Saturday in the first game ....  and I want you to be a reserve. And I'll run you first up against the Vics in the following game so you'll be ready to go against them'.

'Mal, if that's what you think', these were his words,  'that's OK'. So he sat on the bench. We didn't win the carnival, we only won one game - we beat Tasmania - but we played South Australia, we should have beaten them but this bloke Blew, the bloody umpire, he gave us a rough deal and there was one critical stage we would have beaten South Australia. They are hard to beat at home.

And Cabes? I've been able to play with and coach - It's been an honour and privilege to have coached him. I'm so proud of him. And both of them - proud of both those boys. I was lucky. A very humble man and footballer to be able to play with and coach two of the best footballers of all time.

Q: And overall Mal, footy's changed - it's a different game for better or worse. How do you think you would have adapted to footy today?

A: I think I'd be the richest man in Perth. Full backs are pretty hard to get -  haven't seen anyone who could run as fast as me or hit as hard as I could.

Q: But you can't 'hit' these days?

A: You only have to hit once. They're not there next time. You don't have to do it every week. Physical football is still there. It's very tough, still bloody tough today, don't worry about that. There are some pretty hard hits out there and they cop it.

Q: Did players sometimes get away with 'having a bad day'?

A: One day someone said to me that Cabes didn't kick any goals. His name was Matt Brophy, on the committee at that time. Vice president. I said 'Matt, well we won the game, and really I'm happy to win the games'. And he said 'well no, it's Cable. he doesn't kick goals - he does a lot of other things'. So I said: 'Cabes, there's a fella round here who told me you can't kick goals'.  He kicked six that day, might have been nine. Never stopped kicking them.

Q: Now Mal, is there anything I've left out?

A: I don't know mate. Footballs been very good. Whether it be the Eagles, my involvement there was good. I've been lucky...... 

One of the best year's at Lathlain was when I was non playing coach - 1970 - and I got to know the members more. It was a great feeling for me. Getting to know Laurie Basire and Kay Basire - loved her. Lovely people. There were the Fogartys who used to meet every week 'up top' after the game and I got to the stage where I used to go and enjoy their company.  

It was that era, the old era, the Ernie Henfry era, you could say I suppose. And I got to know them and I really enjoyed their company. I became part of the club more then.

Q: Mal, one other thing. You always wore number four at East Perth but with the Demons you were number one. How did that come about?

A: It was Cliff Houghton's idea. He just said to me before the 1966 season: 'You've got guernsey number one', simple as that. Bill Leuzzi, who captained the club in 1965, wore number four, and he kept it. Cabes of course was number two.