Analysis The 2018 premiership is the high point of WC's history

Candiru

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Thread starter #1
I’ve been obsessively following the Eagles for 30 years.

I was there when we won Grand Finals in 1992 and 1994. I was there when we kicked one goal against Essendon in 1989. I’ve been around. I grew up in Melbourne and then lived in Sydney and then moved abroad. My circumstances have changed over the years. My obsession with West Coast has not.

In my reckoning, this 2018 premiership is the high point of the club’s history.

I understand that in the aftermath of any win, people get carried away and reach for superlatives. In the aftermath of a win, everything is “the best” or “the biggest” or “the most exciting”. I hear that. Nonetheless, this season is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen as a WC fan. I make no apologies for saying so. Anyone who disagrees can EAD.

I should also offer a full disclosure. I was among the doubters. I thought Simpson was limited. At different stages, I criticised Sheed, Jetta, Redden, Hutchings, Cole, Lycett, Vardy, Venables, Darling, LeCras, Masten. It’s a long list. Before the season started, I thought we could play finals but not much more than that. I thought we just had to write it off as a transition year. Play finals, blood some kids, make the eight, nothing exciting. That would have been a successful season, in my book.

Instead, this crew produced something that completely stunned me. We won 10 in a row. We smashed Richmond by 50 points. We beat Collingwood at the MCG by 6 goals. Those should have been red flags for anyone who thought we weren’t contenders. The way we played was so spirited. It caught me off-guard. We’d been flakey for years but we played this season like our nuts were on the line. It was inspirational. I’m cynical but the way we played this year hit me hard in the feels.

Of course, the problem with all of that is that we lost some guys along the way. I maintain that I felt worse after NicNat did his knee for the second time than I did after we lost the 2015 Grand Final. I was in a pit of despair for a month after that. Sure, we won a flag in 2018. But I’ll never be OK with how much footy NicNat has missed in his peak. Then Gaff got rubbed out for eight weeks. Then Sheppard popped his hammy. That’s a huge chunk of top-line quality on the sidelines. Star ruckman. #1 midfielder. Gun medium defender. If Richmond or Collingwood lost those players, they’d write an epic poem about it.

And yet we found a way.

But what’s the difference between 2018 and 1992, 1994 and 2006? Great teams. Hooray. What’s the difference?

In my opinion, the difference is definitive. The difference makes 2018 the high point in WC history.

In my opinion, the difference is about the balance between talent and game plan.

In our previous premiership seasons, we had exquisite top-end talent, and the challenge was simply to assemble a side or strategy around it that would be competitive in finals.

That’s what Malthouse did in 1992 and 1994. We had shit-hot talent but Malthouse built a defence-first style that allowed us to strangle teams and then take them apart when we got the ball. Obviously that is a simplification but I think it’s pretty accurate.

We did something similar in 2006. We had Cox, Cousins, Judd, Kerr in the centre square. Worsfold built a team around that apex talent. We only just snuck over the line in 2006 despite having the best starting centre-square combination of the modern era. And then it went to shit. Again, we had awesome top-shelf talent, concentrated in the midfield, and a game plan built around that.

That’s not what happened in 2018. This year, we built a game plan that could withstand devastating losses of talent. We lost Naitanui. We lost Gaff. We lost Sheppard. We won anyway. We won through system and structure and character and grit. That’s not how WC has won premierships in the past. We’ve won them because we had an edge in talent and then built a game plan around that. This year, we did the opposite. We played a brand of football that held up even when we lost our best players. That’s not how WC win flags. But we did it in 2018.

Look at all the players we had in 2018 who had been written off previously to varying degrees. And not just by dickheads in the Victorian media. These guys were whacked by us, the WC faithful. Look at the 22 who won today and at least half of them have been belted on this board at different stages. And yet we found a way.

Again, I want to emphasise that I was among the doubters. This is not a thread about how “everyone got it wrong and I was right haha hahaha”. I also got it wrong. This is a thread about how we won it. I didn’t see it coming. I don’t think many of us did. But the way we won it was spectacular. I’ve never been more proud. In my opinion, this season has been the high point of the club’s history.
 

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HungLong

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#2
I’ve been obsessively following the Eagles for 30 years.

I was there when we won Grand Finals in 1992 and 1994. I was there when we kicked one goal against Essendon in 1989. I’ve been around. I grew up in Melbourne and then lived in Sydney and then moved abroad. My circumstances have changed over the years. My obsession with West Coast has not.

In my reckoning, this 2018 premiership is the high point of the club’s history.

I understand that in the aftermath of any win, people get carried away and reach for superlatives. In the aftermath of a win, everything is “the best” or “the biggest” or “the most exciting”. I hear that. Nonetheless, this season is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen as a WC fan. I make no apologies for saying so. Anyone who disagrees can EAD.

I should also offer a full disclosure. I was among the doubters. I thought Simpson was limited. At different stages, I criticised Sheed, Jetta, Redden, Hutchings, Cole, Lycett, Vardy, Venables, Darling, LeCras, Masten. It’s a long list. Before the season started, I thought we could play finals but not much more than that. I thought we just had to write it off as a transition year. Play finals, blood some kids, make the eight, nothing exciting. That would have been a successful season, in my book.

Instead, this crew produced something that completely stunned me. We won 10 in a row. We smashed Richmond by 50 points. We beat Collingwood at the MCG by 6 goals. Those should have been red flags for anyone who thought we weren’t contenders. The way we played was so spirited. It caught me off-guard. We’d been flakey for years but we played this season like our nuts were on the line. It was inspirational. I’m cynical but the way we played this year hit me hard in the feels.

Of course, the problem with all of that is that we lost some guys along the way. I maintain that I felt worse after NicNat did his knee for the second time than I did after we lost the 2015 Grand Final. I was in a pit of despair for a month after that. Sure, we won a flag in 2018. But I’ll never be OK with how much footy NicNat has missed in his peak. Then Gaff got rubbed out for eight weeks. Then Sheppard popped his hammy. That’s a huge chunk of top-line quality on the sidelines. Star ruckman. #1 midfielder. Gun medium defender. If Richmond or Collingwood lost those players, they’d write an epic poem about it.

And yet we found a way.

But what’s the difference between 2018 and 1992, 1994 and 2006? Great teams. Hooray. What’s the difference?

In my opinion, the difference is definitive. The difference makes 2018 the high point in WC history.

In my opinion, the difference is about the balance between talent and game plan.

In our previous premiership seasons, we had exquisite top-end talent, and the challenge was simply to assemble a side or strategy around it that would be competitive in finals.

That’s what Malthouse did in 1992 and 1994. We had shit-hot talent but Malthouse built a defence-first style that allowed us to strangle teams and then take them apart when we got the ball. Obviously that is a simplification but I think it’s pretty accurate.

We did something similar in 2006. We had Cox, Cousins, Judd, Kerr in the centre square. Worsfold built a team around that apex talent. We only just snuck over the line in 2006 despite having the best starting centre-square combination of the modern era. And then it went to shit. Again, we had awesome top-shelf talent, concentrated in the midfield, and a game plan built around that.

That’s not what happened in 2018. This year, we built a game plan that could withstand devastating losses of talent. We lost Naitanui. We lost Gaff. We lost Sheppard. We won anyway. We won through system and structure and character and grit. That’s not how WC has won premierships in the past. We’ve won them because we had an edge in talent and then built a game plan around that. This year, we did the opposite. We played a brand of football that held up even when we lost our best players. That’s not how WC win flags. But we did it in 2018.

Look at all the players we had in 2018 who had been written off previously to varying degrees. And not just by dickheads in the Victorian media. These guys were whacked by us, the WC faithful. Look at the 22 who won today and at least half of them have been belted on this board at different stages. And yet we found a way.

Again, I want to emphasise that I was among the doubters. This is not a thread about how “everyone got it wrong and I was right haha hahaha”. I also got it wrong. This is a thread about how we won it. I didn’t see it coming. I don’t think many of us did. But the way we won it was spectacular. I’ve never been more proud. In my opinion, this season has been the high point of the club’s history.
Distilled brilliance : the post.
 

Seadog

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#3
I’ve been obsessively following the Eagles for 30 years.

I was there when we won Grand Finals in 1992 and 1994. I was there when we kicked one goal against Essendon in 1989. I’ve been around. I grew up in Melbourne and then lived in Sydney and then moved abroad. My circumstances have changed over the years. My obsession with West Coast has not.

In my reckoning, this 2018 premiership is the high point of the club’s history.

I understand that in the aftermath of any win, people get carried away and reach for superlatives. In the aftermath of a win, everything is “the best” or “the biggest” or “the most exciting”. I hear that. Nonetheless, this season is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen as a WC fan. I make no apologies for saying so. Anyone who disagrees can EAD.

I should also offer a full disclosure. I was among the doubters. I thought Simpson was limited. At different stages, I criticised Sheed, Jetta, Redden, Hutchings, Cole, Lycett, Vardy, Venables, Darling, LeCras, Masten. It’s a long list. Before the season started, I thought we could play finals but not much more than that. I thought we just had to write it off as a transition year. Play finals, blood some kids, make the eight, nothing exciting. That would have been a successful season, in my book.

Instead, this crew produced something that completely stunned me. We won 10 in a row. We smashed Richmond by 50 points. We beat Collingwood at the MCG by 6 goals. Those should have been red flags for anyone who thought we weren’t contenders. The way we played was so spirited. It caught me off-guard. We’d been flakey for years but we played this season like our nuts were on the line. It was inspirational. I’m cynical but the way we played this year hit me hard in the feels.

Of course, the problem with all of that is that we lost some guys along the way. I maintain that I felt worse after NicNat did his knee for the second time than I did after we lost the 2015 Grand Final. I was in a pit of despair for a month after that. Sure, we won a flag in 2018. But I’ll never be OK with how much footy NicNat has missed in his peak. Then Gaff got rubbed out for eight weeks. Then Sheppard popped his hammy. That’s a huge chunk of top-line quality on the sidelines. Star ruckman. #1 midfielder. Gun medium defender. If Richmond or Collingwood lost those players, they’d write an epic poem about it.

And yet we found a way.

But what’s the difference between 2018 and 1992, 1994 and 2006? Great teams. Hooray. What’s the difference?

In my opinion, the difference is definitive. The difference makes 2018 the high point in WC history.

In my opinion, the difference is about the balance between talent and game plan.

In our previous premiership seasons, we had exquisite top-end talent, and the challenge was simply to assemble a side or strategy around it that would be competitive in finals.

That’s what Malthouse did in 1992 and 1994. We had shit-hot talent but Malthouse built a defence-first style that allowed us to strangle teams and then take them apart when we got the ball. Obviously that is a simplification but I think it’s pretty accurate.

We did something similar in 2006. We had Cox, Cousins, Judd, Kerr in the centre square. Worsfold built a team around that apex talent. We only just snuck over the line in 2006 despite having the best starting centre-square combination of the modern era. And then it went to shit. Again, we had awesome top-shelf talent, concentrated in the midfield, and a game plan built around that.

That’s not what happened in 2018. This year, we built a game plan that could withstand devastating losses of talent. We lost Naitanui. We lost Gaff. We lost Sheppard. We won anyway. We won through system and structure and character and grit. That’s not how WC has won premierships in the past. We’ve won them because we had an edge in talent and then built a game plan around that. This year, we did the opposite. We played a brand of football that held up even when we lost our best players. That’s not how WC win flags. But we did it in 2018.

Look at all the players we had in 2018 who had been written off previously to varying degrees. And not just by dickheads in the Victorian media. These guys were whacked by us, the WC faithful. Look at the 22 who won today and at least half of them have been belted on this board at different stages. And yet we found a way.

Again, I want to emphasise that I was among the doubters. This is not a thread about how “everyone got it wrong and I was right haha hahaha”. I also got it wrong. This is a thread about how we won it. I didn’t see it coming. I don’t think many of us did. But the way we won it was spectacular. I’ve never been more proud. In my opinion, this season has been the high point of the club’s history.
Amen to that, I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. Our first flag takes some beating but I think this tops it.
 

sydney eagle

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#4
Great write up "Candiru" but one thing you left out that has only just come to light. McGovern's injury was MUCH more than a "hip injury". He deserves some sort of award for simply getting on the field, let alone performing as well as he did !
 

PerthBoy86

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#6
So you're a Vic who decided to follow us when we joined? Not bad, good sir.

Definitely make some good points. I was a young kid in 92 and 94 so can't be too analytical about it, but the Eagles of 2018 were pretty different to the 92-94 and 05-06 sides. The former two seemed to rely more on their midfield/defense, talent and gameplan, and while our gameplan was good it was the sheer grit and spirit our players showed that stood out. In a way 2018 might be the sweetest flag of all, though 92 is hard to top. I have to say though I'm not sure this is the best Eagles side ever, but it certainly seems the most resilience. I hope this is just A high point and not THE high point for a long time to come lol. Tbh I'm not sure how well we'll do next year. Think we'll be up there but we need to work on some things to be even more dominant. But too early to look towards next year, just wanna savour the flag for now!
 

FKASC

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#10
Definitely an amazing season all round.

Displayed so much grit when it matter all throughout the season - so many fightbacks. I didn’t know this group had it in them.

So many cameo performances - not a single passenger this year.

Every single bloke that pulled on the jumper at some point during the season contributed immensely.

Not just in a ‘I did my role’ manner but in a significant game-winning manner.

That makes it very satisfying
 

domo

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#11
agreed, but it's more like we finally have a decent midfield out there to complement the best forward and back lines in our history. We've never had all three.
 

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Hai_Newman

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#13
In 92 games were won by attrition and squaring up, was a very spiteful era and a line was drawn.
Big hits vs big hits, also Finals draw was stacked against us.
Brilliant what we achieved, gritty and hardness was the call of the day.

...now that brings us to this win, this win was all system and team focused.
This win came from no where, through a well coached group of role players.
This win was beautiful in its execution, and cheekiness.
This win was a pure football side, no dirty hits, just purely system and structure.

Its hard to split them lads, but this team is a very likable side and I for one look forward to fall in love with their passion, team orientated focus and never give in mentality. This team is special.
 

getgaff

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#14
Great post Candiru

Swept up in the emotion of it all probably but I definitely agree that this takes the cake as the high point in the club's history.
 

Shmiddy15

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#24
Another epic thing about our 2018 victory is that we did it against an MCG tenant for the first time in our history! To travel across the country and bring home the flag by defeating a team that had roughly seven times the experience we did on the ground is a great achievement. To do so after conceding the first 5 goals of the game speaks volumes about the character of our group.
 
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