Can the Western Australian AFL sides bounce back from recent disappointments?

It was a final that had promised so much in the weeks leading up to it. If you’re a Western Australian AFL fan, you’ll have no doubt been wringing your hands at the prospect of a Western Derby Grand Final in Melbourne in the weekend past. Both the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers dominated the league ladder for practically the entirety of the season, finishing in the top two spots before the knockout rounds commenced.

The Dockers were sent home, the mouthwatering prospect of a Western Derby Grand Final in tatters.

The two sides successfully negotiated a path to the semi-finals, but that’s where it all started to go wrong. The Dockers, who topped the ladder stage of the competition with 68 points, found themselves up against a Hawthorn side that had finished third in the standings.

Fremantle, so imperious throughout the regular season, had no answer to the relentless Hawks’ attacking brand of play, falling 15.4 (94) to 10.7 (67). The Dockers were sent home, the mouthwatering prospect of a Western Derby Grand Final in tatters.

The Eagles bring hope

No matter. The West Coast Eagles could carry the state’s candle into AFL Grand Final 2015 territory, and so it proved to be. North Melbourne were handily beaten at the Subiaco Open by a score of 20.20 (80) to 7.13 (55). That game set up a final showdown with the Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with hopes high that the Eagles could bring home the Premiership for the first time since 2006.

It wasn’t to be. Despite naming an unchanged line-up for the team which steamrolled North Melbourne in the semi, the Hawks ran out 16.11 (107) to 8.13 (61) winners and their third consecutive AFL crown. Ironically, conditions suited the Eagles more than their Victorian rivals, with the pitchside temperature reaching a balmy 31.3 degrees Celsius, a warmth not unknown to inhabitants of Western Australia.

However, the brave Eagles were chasing the game from the off, with the Hawks leading by 19 points at quarter-time. That was mainly down to the unerring accuracy of both their goal and field kicks, and by half-time, the lead had been extended to 31 points.

That lead, though not entirely out of reach, never looked in any danger of being clawed back as Hawthorn methodically overwhelmed their opponents – by three-quarter time, the lead was an unassailable 50 points and the game was up.

Better look next time (Yes, we meant that!)

“(I don’t know) whether it was that we got overawed or that they were just too good and we didn’t take our chances,” mused West Coast coach Adam Simpson after the game.

In any case, a grand time was had by all who attended, and we at Motive Travel will be sure to be putting on great AFL Grand Final holiday packages next year – let’s just hope one of our teams can make it again!

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