South Australia has the Showdown, Queensland the Clash but the Western Derby is considered one of the most exciting games of the entire season. Unlike other games, it doesn’t matter where the West Coast Eagles or the Fremantle Dockers are on the Ladder. The Derby is guaranteed to be a cracking, hard fought match. For the record, this time the teams were fifth and sixth on the Ladder and 41,000 fans were treated to a classic encounter.
Perth has been in the grip of a never-ending summer. On a day that should have been pleasantly autumnal, the North Melbourne Kangaroos arrived to face 97 degree heat and a parochial crowd of nearly 36,000. To make matters worse, the Kangaroos' premier ruckman Goldstein came down with a stomach virus before the game leaving the lion’s share of the work up to first gamer Cameron Pederson.
North Melbourne entered their Round 21 game against West Coast knowing their chances of playing Finals had slipped away the day before when Hawthorn trounced their opponents to take a hold on eighth position. As for the Eagles, their only motivation was to give themselves a chance of getting off the bottom of the Ladder.
James Podsiadly, (GEEL), bumping or making forceful contact from front-on against Carton's Bryce Gibbs: assessed as negligent conduct (one point), medium impact (two points) and high contact (two points), equaling five activation points and a two game suspension.
Over the last few seasons St Kilda has been a team that you could bank on to win just about every game they played. This season, with the loss of their key goal kicker Nick Riewoldt, they have been shaky, losing three out of eight games. The West Coast Eagles have not fared much better but they were coming off two wins in a row and playing at their home ground in front of 38,000 faithful fans. The bookmakers had the game evenly balanced and there was an air of belief in Perth that the Eagles could knock the Saints down a peg or two.