Western Suburbs Weekly - - Westernopinion -

WHEN the WA Foot­ball Com­mis­sion re­vealed it wanted fans to share their fond­est mem­o­ries of Su­bi­aco Oval to mark the fi­nal sea­son of AFL at the cen­tu­ry­old venue, it put me on a slow trawl through the mem­ory bank. Was my first game there watch­ing the Dock­ers play St Kilda? Maybe it was the first West­ern Derby as a kid. Nope, it can’t have been that. Fre­man­tle lost by 20 goals. Was it some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent - maybe an in­ter­na­tional rules match be­tween Ire­land and Aus­tralia?

Dale Thomas did pull off the best goal-sav­ing tackle I’ve seen in a 2008 test match there. The Chris Main­war­ing Le­gends match in 2008 was pretty spe­cial too. Or could it have been when I heard a West Coast sup­porter tell an­other fan “We didn’t de­serve that free kick” dur­ing a Fri­day night clash with Rich­mond last year?

I was at the game as a neu­tral, for some rea­son feel­ing like I was go­ing to be found out as an im­poster.

But I struck up a con­ver­sa­tion with a fan about the Derby a week ear­lier.

“I was dis­ap­pointed to see Sandi­lands go down,” the fan told me, re­count­ing how Nic Nai­tanui had used the Fre­man­tle ruck­man as a step lad­der, break­ing a few ribs in the process. “Hey, these West Coast fans are al­right,” I thought to my­self. With more than 100 years of foot­ball at Su­bi­aco Oval, there is plenty of his­tory to track back over. That is not even men­tion­ing all the other events it has held. While the new Perth Sta­dium is sure to be a hit, help­ing put Perth in the frame to host high­pro­file stars, teams and events, it will be sad to see the gates close. For all its quirks, I’ve al­ways loved Su­bi­aco Oval.

It’s given me plenty to re­mem­ber. Bryce Luff, Re­porter

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