BILL'S GRILL – ROUND 10

Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 2:35 PM

FROM the outside of either East or West Perth it's a difficult concept to get your head around just how much a derby means to both clubs and their supporters.

You see them play in derbies over a number of years and sometimes you think why people are so passionate about but now the great thing about being the coach of the West Perth Football Club is you get to go and meet some of the past greats of the club. They talk about when Polly Farmer changed from one club to the other, they talk about when Don and Ray Marinko were going between East Perth and West Perth, and there's George Michalczyk and a lot of great players who have gone between the two clubs.
There is obviously a history of bad blood between the two clubs as well so that has been the really interesting part for me. I've learned a lot about the West Perth history by having derby stories told to me. There is so much passion there and the enjoyment West Perth people get from beating East Perth, it's just amazing.
As a coach coming from a background that wasn’t with East Perth or West Perth and to some extent the players who even now play the game, they are just wins. A win is a win no matter the opposition and afterwards we sit back, and reflect upon it. We might have a little bit more enjoyment because it is East Perth but our focus is always on preparing ourselves well and then making sure we perform well. If we can do that in a derby, then it holds a little bit more weight within the West Perth community and I'm sure East Perth is exactly the same.
The bizarre thing now is that there are a large number of West Perth supporters, especially those who are called 'Garlic Munchers' and are from that North Perth and Mt Lawley area that it's nearly an act of treason that East Perth plays out of Leederville Oval. For those who have been around the football club for a long period of time and have been through the Cardies and now the Falcons, beating East Perth means a lot to them.
It has been spelled out quite clearly to me by a number of people that there are only three things you need to do each year and that's win the three derbies, but when the temperature goes down a little bit it's not as simple as just beating East Perth. I tell them I will take three derby losses if we still play finals and are successful.
It still astounds me at times how passionate people are about the rivalry, but it's also something that I want the club to embrace and for it to continue. It gives us that little bit extra edge as two clubs when we play in a derby and that's great for the competition because we still have the ability to draw a 7 or 8000 person crowd. It's still a great day for both clubs to showcase their clubs and there is always good and bad publicity about it.
I think sometimes supporters and the press are looking for something to write or talk about in a derby. There is a lot of cats and dogs who don’t get kicked out at night when West Perth supporters go home after watching us win a derby.
As a player when I was at Subiaco in particular we never had one traditional rival over a long period of time. We were very successful at Subi when I first started and then I played in a period when we were often in finals, and made a couple of grand finals but didn’t win, and any rivalry we had was largely dependent on ladder positions at the time.
If you were near the top and played two or three times against another top side, then that became a real focus for that year and there was a period of time around 1995 when we had a strong rivalry with West Perth. We won 19 games that year at Subi and then West Perth knocked us off in the grand final. That then sprouted a rivalry and West Perth won 16 of the next 17 games against us after that and then it flipped the other way when Subi won nine in-a-row in the late 2000s.
It was probably West Perth who was our biggest rival at Subi so that was the closest I got to a derby-type rivalry, but it still wasn’t close to being on the same level. Before that when I first started there was a fair bit against East Fremantle because they were a good side and then through the late 1980s and early 90s Claremont was really successful.
The derby is unique, though, and I'm sure if you go back 25 or 30 years he passion at either a Fremantle or Perth derby was immense, and it's good to see that it has continued to a large degree.
From a players and coach point of view I don’t see anything noticeably different leading into a derby, but you do get a sense from people around the club like Vic Carbone, our team manager, and Bart DeVito, a long-time trainer, who walk around with more spring in their step. The board and supporters always send through messages and you even walk down the street and bump into friends and family who talk about the derby coming up.
You notice it a bit on the outside, but as a coach and player you are so focused on getting things right and on the processes and structures, and all those words that coaches trot out, that you get so absorbed in your work that it doesn’t have a big bearing on your week. The answer is that no it doesn’t affect us in preparation. We understand it happening around us, but it doesn’t take our focus off preparing right for the game.
BY BILL MONAGHANFROM the outside of either East or West Perth it's a difficult concept to get your head around just how much a derby means to both clubs and their supporters.

You see them play in derbies over a number of years and sometimes you think why people are so passionate about but now the great thing about being the coach of the West Perth Football Club is you get to go and meet some of the past greats of the club. They talk about when Polly Farmer changed from one club to the other, they talk about when Don and Ray Marinko were going between East Perth and West Perth, and there's George Michalczyk and a lot of great players who have gone between the two clubs.

There is obviously a history of bad blood between the two clubs as well so that has been the really interesting part for me. I've learned a lot about the West Perth history by having derby stories told to me. There is so much passion there and the enjoyment West Perth people get from beating East Perth, it's just amazing.

As a coach coming from a background that wasn’t with East Perth or West Perth and to some extent the players who even now play the game, they are just wins. A win is a win no matter the opposition and afterwards we sit back, and reflect upon it. We might have a little bit more enjoyment because it is East Perth but our focus is always on preparing ourselves well and then making sure we perform well. If we can do that in a derby, then it holds a little bit more weight within the West Perth community and I'm sure East Perth is exactly the same.

The bizarre thing now is that there are a large number of West Perth supporters, especially those who are called 'Garlic Munchers' and are from that North Perth and Mt Lawley area that it's nearly an act of treason that East Perth plays out of Leederville Oval. For those who have been around the football club for a long period of time and have been through the Cardies and now the Falcons, beating East Perth means a lot to them.

It has been spelled out quite clearly to me by a number of people that there are only three things you need to do each year and that's win the three derbies, but when the temperature goes down a little bit it's not as simple as just beating East Perth. I tell them I will take three derby losses if we still play finals and are successful.

It still astounds me at times how passionate people are about the rivalry, but it's also something that I want the club to embrace and for it to continue. It gives us that little bit extra edge as two clubs when we play in a derby and that's great for the competition because we still have the ability to draw a 7 or 8000 person crowd. It's still a great day for both clubs to showcase their clubs and there is always good and bad publicity about it.

I think sometimes supporters and the press are looking for something to write or talk about in a derby. There is a lot of cats and dogs who don’t get kicked out at night when West Perth supporters go home after watching us win a derby.

As a player when I was at Subiaco in particular we never had one traditional rival over a long period of time. We were very successful at Subi when I first started and then I played in a period when we were often in finals, and made a couple of grand finals but didn’t win, and any rivalry we had was largely dependent on ladder positions at the time.

If you were near the top and played two or three times against another top side, then that became a real focus for that year and there was a period of time around 1995 when we had a strong rivalry with West Perth. We won 19 games that year at Subi and then West Perth knocked us off in the grand final. That then sprouted a rivalry and West Perth won 16 of the next 17 games against us after that and then it flipped the other way when Subi won nine in-a-row in the late 2000s.

It was probably West Perth who was our biggest rival at Subi so that was the closest I got to a derby-type rivalry, but it still wasn’t close to being on the same level. Before that when I first started there was a fair bit against East Fremantle because they were a good side and then through the late 1980s and early 90s Claremont was really successful.

The derby is unique, though, and I'm sure if you go back 25 or 30 years he passion at either a Fremantle or Perth derby was immense, and it's good to see that it has continued to a large degree.

From a players and coach point of view I don’t see anything noticeably different leading into a derby, but you do get a sense from people around the club like Vic Carbone, our team manager, and Bart DeVito, a long-time trainer, who walk around with more spring in their step. The board and supporters always send through messages and you even walk down the street and bump into friends and family who talk about the derby coming up.

You notice it a bit on the outside, but as a coach and player you are so focused on getting things right and on the processes and structures, and all those words that coaches trot out, that you get so absorbed in your work that it doesn’t have a big bearing on your week. The answer is that no it doesn’t affect us in preparation. We understand it happening around us, but it doesn’t take our focus off preparing right for the game.

BY BILL MONAGHAN