Adrian Barich: West Coast Eagles fans must drive past storm

Eagles fans, don’t panic.

I know it’s hard to face that your team isn’t playing a final this year, but haven’t you had a good run?

The AFL’s draft and salary limits are all designed to give clubs a chance to win a premiership every 18 years, so the Eagles have surpassed four flags in 36 years.

Adrian Barich:

Seeing the Dockers doing well and currently in second place makes life a little harder for some, but Freo is late for ultimate success, so they deserve a lick of the ice after many kick their ass on the way.

Imagine being a St Kilda supporter and yearning for a Saints premiership since 1966.


The last time the Saints held up the Premiership trophy in the MCG, not even a human had landed on the moon. Menzies was Prime Minister, Lyndon Johnson was the US President, and the Rolling Stones had just started a tour of Australia. Adam West just put on his tights for the first Batman television series.

Now that long wait for your turn at the top puts everything in perspective.

After playing for or reporting on the Eagles for 35 years, I have witnessed every cycle the West Coast has endured to reach the holy grail of footy.

In 2010 the club ‘won’ its first wooden spoon, the symbolic prize for the team that finishes last, and guess what? The following year, they played finals again.

My take is that the Eagles were in the center of a perfect storm this year.

They have endured a season that started with a star hesitant to get vaccines and the surprising retirement of a brilliant defender, followed by an extraordinary number of injuries to key players and then a COVID attack. It was the old quadruple blow.

In 1989, when we scored just one goal in a game against Essendon at Windy Hill and lost by 142 points, we didn’t have a set of reasons for such a huge loss.

And in 1987, when we conceded 30 goals to Sydney at the SCG and lost 130 points, it was only the Swanettes (who had to dance after every goal) who had anything to complain about.

I think my message is a long-term vision.

In the 80s, we had a lot of crisis meetings, and each session was at 5 a.m., and we even had to sprint a hundred 100 meters (to the minute) as a form of punishment. One of our tougher players even ran home from the airport after a heavy loss, but there was no reason to overreact or panic.

Coaches are fired for bad seasons, but winning premierships is about having your best players fit and available.

Just like you can’t outrun a bad diet, you can’t outsmart an injury.

Talent wins matches; look at the Melbourne Football Club.

The Eagles will bounce back. If not next season, it will be in 2024.

Keep the faith, my friends.

Lori J. Kile
I love to write and create. I love photography, design, travel and art. I am a full time freelance writer and photographer.I am very excited to be creating new content and opportunities for my readers.