1977 WANFL season

The 1977 WANFL season was the 93rd season of the Western Australian National Football League in its various incarnations. It followed on from the previous season’s high scoring to set another record for the highest average score in WANFL history[1] at 109.57 points per team per game, which was to be broken substantially in the following few years due to the introduction of the interchange rule allowing for a faster game with less exhausted players. 1977 was in fact that last WA(N)FL season with no score of over 200 points until 1988.

1977 WAFL season
Teams8
PremiersPerth
(7th premiership)
Minor premiersPerth
(6th minor premiership)
Matches played88
Bernie Naylor MedallistRay Bauskis (South Fremantle)
Sandover MedallistBrian Peake (East Fremantle)
← 1976
1978 →

The season saw Perth win their second consecutive premiership with a resounding win and record WA(N)FL Grand Final score over East Fremantle who were in the finals for the first time since their last premiership in 1974. It was the fifth premiership in twelve seasons for the Demons, and their last as of 2016: Perth have not played in a Grand Final since 1978, and have even not qualified for the finals since 1997.

To counter the uneven quality of inter-league matches between the WANFL and the VFL due to recruiting of top interstate players by Victoria, a State of Origin match was held in Perth the week following the Grand Final. Western Australia showed its quality as a developer of Australian Rules talent with a crushing 94-point win over the best players bred in Victoria, and until the advent of the national competition and the West Coast Eagles State of Origin football proved very popular with Western Australian and South Australian crowds and television in Victoria; however after that it declined to the point of being abandoned after 1999.

Home-and-away seasonEdit

Round 1 (Easter weekend)Edit

Round 1
Saturday, 26 March Swan Districts 25.13 (163) def. South Fremantle 18.18 (126) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 10280)
Saturday, 26 March East Perth 12.13 (85) def. by West Perth 15.14 (104) Perth Oval (crowd: 12682)
Monday, 28 March Claremont 8.12 (60) def. by Perth 12.15 (87) Claremont Oval (crowd: not disclosed)
Monday, 28 March East Fremantle 21.17 (143) def. Subiaco 13.12 (90) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: not disclosed)
  • Swan Districts’ off-season emphasis on physical conditioning has a surprise reward when – with Garry Sidebottom moved onto the ball – they overpower the 1976 second semi-finalists.[2]
  • Despite the unexpected return of Peter Featherby, 12 goals and five behind from youngster Jim Sewell allows Old Easts to run over the Lions in amazing fashion with 13.7 (85) in the last quarter.[3]

Round 2Edit

Round 2
Saturday, 2 April West Perth 15.22 (112) def. Swan Districts 14.10 (94) Leederville Oval (crowd: 11560)
Saturday, 2 April South Fremantle 14.13 (97) def. by East Perth 15.14 (104) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 9485)
Saturday, 2 April Subiaco 13.13 (91) def. by Claremont 14.12 (96) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 7347)
Saturday, 2 April Perth 13.11 (89) def. by East Fremantle 20.17 (137) Lathlain Park (crowd: 10128)
  • Two brilliant bursts of goalkicking by David Hollins and Bruce Tschirpig give East Fremantle an impressive upset over the reigning premiers.[4]
  • Basil Campbell single-handedly pushed South Fremantle close to East Perth when he misses a shot that would have levelled the scores after the Bulldogs were behind all match. Archie Duda kicks nine for the Royals.[5]

Round 3Edit

Round 3
Saturday, 9 April Subiaco 15.12 (102) def. by Perth 19.17 (131) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 8973)
Saturday, 9 April Claremont 18.11 (119) def. by East Fremantle 27.14 (176) Claremont Oval (crowd: 10050)
Monday, 11 April South Fremantle 16.11 (107) def. West Perth 15.14 (104) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 12601)
Monday, 11 April Swan Districts 16.11 (107) def. by East Perth 22.12 (144) Bassendean Oval (crowd: not disclosed)
  • Jim Sewell’s second twelve-goal performance has him seen as potentially the biggest spectator drawcard in the WANFL since Gerovich[6] – a critical asset when WANFL crowds were no longer increasing as they had in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • South Fremantle show tenacity and skill to hold off a West Perth team that finished very strongly against the wind.[7]

Round 4Edit

Round 4
Saturday, 16 April West Perth 18.21 (129) def. Subiaco 12.9 (81) Leederville Oval (crowd: 9418)
Saturday, 16 April Perth 30.18 (198) def. South Fremantle 13.7 (85) Lathlain Park (crowd: 10402)
Saturday, 16 April East Perth 21.15 (141) def. Claremont 11.14 (80) Perth Oval (crowd: 9507)
Saturday, 16 April East Fremantle 20.21 (141) def. Swan Districts 11.14 (80) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 9017)

A record third quarter of 15.3 (93)[8] sees Perth kick their highest-ever WA(N)FL score, beating their previous record from 1968 against Swan Districts.[9] The Demon rovers create a “shuttle service” to nine-goal full-forward Couper. South were without Campbell and Mal Brown.

Round 5Edit

Round 5
Saturday, 23 April Subiaco 9.12 (66) def. by South Fremantle 24.22 (166) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 6907)
Saturday, 23 April West Perth 9.15 (69) def. Perth 8.18 (66) Leederville Oval (crowd: 12019)
Saturday, 23 April Swan Districts 24.14 (158) def. Claremont 17.9 (111) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 7058)
Saturday, 23 April East Fremantle 12.22 (94) def. East Perth 12.16 (88) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 12723)
  • Despite losing a tight game to West Perth, Perth find future Simpson Medallist Wim Rosbender as the replacement they needed for 1976 premiership ruckman Dean Herbert, who returned to Victoria.[10]
  • Swan Districts, after an expensive over-summer recruiting campaign,[11] win their second game but it would be their last for sixteen weeks.

Round 6Edit

Round 6
Saturday, 30 April Perth 27.16 (178) def. Swan Districts 15.6 (96) Lathlain Park (crowd: 8988)
Saturday, 30 April East Perth 11.8 (74) def. by Subiaco 12.6 (78) Perth Oval (crowd: 6546)
Saturday, 30 April Claremont 8.12 (60) def. by West Perth 24.17 (161) Claremont Oval (crowd: 7766)
Saturday, 30 April South Fremantle 12.16 (88) def. by East Fremantle 19.18 (132) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 15738)

Subiaco, after being wooden spooners in 1976 and losing their first five by large margins, has coach Brian Douge allow the players to select their own side and let them off training – this unorthodox move wins the Lions their first game and sets them on their best run between 1975 and 1984.[12]

Round 7Edit

Round 7
Saturday, 7 May Swan Districts 10.10 (70) def. by Subiaco 18.9 (117) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 6695)
Saturday, 7 May East Perth 13.9 (87) def. by Perth 17.13 (115) Perth Oval (crowd: 11213)
Saturday, 7 May Claremont 14.9 (93) def. by South Fremantle 16.20 (116) Claremont Oval (crowd: 6715)
Saturday, 7 May East Fremantle 11.20 (86) def. by West Perth 21.8 (134) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 14948)

West Perth’s win against East Fremantle was the biggest in the WAFL with fewer scoring shots until the same round of 1994[13] beating a record from the 1969 Preliminary Final.

Round 8Edit

Round 8
Saturday, 14 May South Fremantle 25.21 (171) def. Swan Districts 7.7 (49) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 6697)
Saturday, 14 May West Perth 14.15 (99) def. by East Perth 23.13 (151) Leederville Oval (crowd: 11859)
Saturday, 14 May Perth 23.15 (153) def. Claremont 11.16 (82) Lathlain Park (crowd: 5782)
Saturday, 14 May Subiaco 14.13 (97) def. by East Fremantle 17.12 (114) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 7943)

South Fremantle in a tricky wind kick 1.12 (18) before kicking ten goals straight and crushing Swan Districts[14]

Round 9Edit

Round 9
Saturday, 21 May Swan Districts 10.12 (72) def. by West Perth 17.15 (117) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 6250)
Saturday, 21 May East Perth 12.12 (84) def. by South Fremantle 19.18 (132) Perth Oval (crowd: 9412)
Saturday, 21 May Claremont 13.12 (90) def. by Subiaco 17.12 (114) Claremont Oval (crowd: 4860)
Saturday, 21 May East Fremantle 9.14 (68) def. by Perth 11.12 (78) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 8642)

On the one wet day of the season, South Fremantle kick an exceptional 10.3 (63) with the wind, with future star Stephen Michael dominating the ruck[15]

Round 10Edit

Round 10
Saturday, 28 May West Perth 26.13 (169) def. South Fremantle 20.17 (137) Leederville Oval (crowd: 14270)
Saturday, 28 May East Perth 22.17 (149) def. Swan Districts 13.5 (83) Perth Oval (crowd: 7038)
Saturday, 28 May Perth 17.15 (117) def. Subiaco 11.12 (78) Lathlain Park (crowd: 9106)
Saturday, 28 May East Fremantle 13.9 (87) def. by Claremont 12.17 (89) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 6619)
  • The Cardinals won a high-scoring game with a brilliant fifteen-minute spell before half-time[16]
  • When Ray Bauskis got his 100th goal in Round 19, a goal was added over those originally credited from this round[17]
  • Robert Wiley has 36 kicks and five goals in a display that attracts the attention of Richmond[18]

Round 11 (Foundation Day)Edit

Round 11
Saturday, 4 June Claremont 11.12 (78) def. by East Perth 15.16 (106) Claremont Oval (crowd: 9026)
Saturday, 4 June Swan Districts 14.14 (98) def. by East Fremantle 20.27 (147) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 7340)
Monday, 6 June Subiaco 17.13 (115) def. West Perth 14.7 (91) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 12311)
Monday, 6 June South Fremantle 19.17 (131) def. Perth 18.12 (120) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 11687)

Round 12Edit

Round 12
Saturday, 11 June South Fremantle 16.16 (112) def. by Subiaco 19.14 (128) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 8923)
Saturday, 11 June Perth 29.18 (192) def. West Perth 12.8 (80) Lathlain Park (crowd: 8198)
Saturday, 11 June Claremont 13.25 (103) def. Swan Districts 10.8 (68) Claremont Oval (crowd: 5044)
Saturday, 11 June East Perth 19.13 (127) def. East Fremantle 14.16 (100) Perth Oval (crowd: 9041)

Star Perth rover Robert Wiley has an amazing match with 10 goals, four behinds and forty-two possessions,[19] as the Demons kick their second highest score on record.[9]

Round 13Edit

Round 13
Saturday, 18 June Swan Districts 9.9 (63) def. by Perth 18.15 (123) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 4897)
Saturday, 18 June Subiaco 12.11 (83) def. by East Perth 17.15 (117) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 12757)
Saturday, 18 June West Perth 16.12 (108) def. Claremont 17.18 (120) Leederville Oval (crowd: 7113)
Saturday, 18 June East Fremantle 11.17 (83) def. by South Fremantle 11.19 (85) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 11940)

Don Haddow kicks winner with last kick of day on best-afield Doug Green, in a manner compared at the time with the 1964 Grand Final.[20]

Round 14Edit

Round 14
Saturday, 2 July Subiaco 14.13 (97) def. Swan Districts 12.12 (84) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 6976)
Saturday, 2 July Perth 29.12 (186) def. East Perth 11.8 (74) Lathlain Park (crowd: 10490)
Saturday, 2 July South Fremantle 24.16 (160) def. Claremont 13.14 (92) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 7857)
Saturday, 2 July West Perth 19.12 (126) def. East Fremantle 16.12 (108) Leederville Oval (crowd: 8472)

Round 15Edit

Round 15
Saturday, 9 July Swan Districts 12.10 (82) def. by South Fremantle 21.16 (142) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 5488)
Saturday, 9 July East Perth 20.9 (129) def. West Perth 13.11 (89) Perth Oval (crowd: 12491)
Saturday, 9 July Claremont 9.18 (72) def. by Perth 26.14 (170) Claremont Oval (crowd: 5202)
Saturday, 9 July East Fremantle 21.25 (151) def. Subiaco 13.11 (89) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 8090)
  • Robert Wiley kicks nine goals after half-time for his second double-figure haul of the season
  • Bold moves by Graham Farmer help East Perth cope with the loss of spearhead Archie Duda to defeat rivals West Perth[21]

Round 16Edit

Round 16
Saturday, 16 July West Perth 29.23 (197) def. Swan Districts 16.12 (108) Leederville Oval (crowd: 6109)
Saturday, 16 July South Fremantle 12.10 (82) def. by East Perth 17.17 (119) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 11517)
Saturday, 16 July Subiaco 16.17 (113) def. Claremont 15.9 (99) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 4406)
Saturday, 16 July Perth 17.17 (119) def. by East Fremantle 20.12 (132) Lathlain Park (crowd: 11420)

Round 17Edit

Round 17
Saturday, 23 July South Fremantle 11.13 (79) def. by West Perth 15.20 (110) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 11478)
Saturday, 23 July Swan Districts 12.9 (81) def. by East Perth 23.11 (149) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 5698)
Saturday, 23 July Subiaco 11.9 (75) def. by Perth 23.11 (149) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 5867)
Saturday, 23 July Claremont 9.14 (68) def. by East Fremantle 16.13 (109) Claremont Oval (crowd: 5750)

Archie Duda kicked ten in comeback from knee trouble to move to 99 goals for the Royals.

Round 18Edit

Round 18
Saturday, 6 August West Perth 25.17 (167) def. Subiaco 18.5 (113) Leederville Oval (crowd: 7816)
Saturday, 6 August Perth 15.14 (104) def. South Fremantle 15.9 (99) Lathlain Park (crowd: 9109)
Saturday, 6 August East Perth 20.15 (135) def. by Claremont 23.9 (147) Perth Oval (crowd: 6618)
Saturday, 6 August East Fremantle 27.17 (179) def. Swan Districts 18.9 (117) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 5127)
  • Peter Bosustow, then only a fringe player for Perth, kicks six to help them overhaul South Fremantle from a big quarter-time deficit[22]
  • Archie Duda kicked his hundredth goal for East Perth, but missed the rest of the season with persistent knee problems.

Round 19Edit

Round 19
Saturday, 13 August Subiaco 10.9 (69) def. by South Fremantle 23.15 (153) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 4317)
Saturday, 13 August West Perth 23.16 (154) def. Perth 14.15 (99) Leederville Oval (crowd: 11380)
Saturday, 13 August Swan Districts 13.16 (94) def. by Claremont 19.13 (127) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 4102)
Saturday, 13 August East Fremantle 16.16 (112) def. East Perth 17.9 (111) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 9012)

Old Easts wipe off a 44-point deficit in fifteen minutes of the third quarter and hang on to win a thriller[23]

Round 20Edit

Round 20
Saturday, 20 August Perth 17.18 (120) def. Swan Districts 12.12 (84) Lathlain Park (crowd: 4132)
Saturday, 20 August East Perth 15.15 (105) def. Subiaco 8.4 (52) Perth Oval (crowd: 6145)
Saturday, 20 August Claremont 10.6 (66) def. by West Perth 22.13 (145) Claremont Oval (crowd: 6840)
Saturday, 20 August South Fremantle 15.17 (107) def. East Fremantle 14.13 (97) Fremantle Oval (crowd: 12984)

Ross Glendinning’s brilliant defence allows East Perth to hold Subiaco to 2.0 (12) in first half.[24]

Round 21Edit

Round 21
Saturday, 27 August Swan Districts 16.17 (113) def. Subiaco 7.11 (53) Bassendean Oval (crowd: 3048)
Saturday, 27 August East Perth 26.19 (175) def. Perth 9.7 (61) Perth Oval (crowd: 11695)
Saturday, 27 August Claremont 11.17 (83) def. by South Fremantle 13.17 (95) Claremont Oval (crowd: 6375)
Saturday, 27 August East Fremantle 23.12 (150) def. West Perth 10.18 (78) East Fremantle Oval (crowd: 11740)
  • East Perth, with fierce physical pressure and brilliant roving from Otway against a Wiley-less Demon side, take complete revenge for their earlier caning.[25]
  • Garry Sidebottom kicks eight as Swan Districts end a run of fifteen straight losses, to be thirty losses from thirty-two games next season. Sidebottom had played only eight games all year in a long list of Swans injuries[26]

LadderEdit

1977 ladder
Pos Team Pld W L D PF PA PP Pts
1 Perth (P) 21 15 6 0 2655 2003 132.6 60
2 East Fremantle 21 14 7 0 2546 2077 122.6 56
3 West Perth 21 14 7 0 2543 2218 114.7 56
4 East Perth 21 13 8 0 2454 2060 119.1 52
5 South Fremantle 21 12 9 0 2470 2249 109.8 48
6 Subiaco 21 7 14 0 1901 2471 76.9 28
7 Claremont 21 6 15 0 1935 2587 74.8 24
8 Swan Districts 21 3 18 0 1964 2803 70.1 12
Source: WAFL Footy Facts
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) percentage; 3) number of points for.
(P) Premiers.

FinalsEdit

First semi-finalEdit

First semi-final
Saturday, 3 September West Perth 14.13 (97) def. East Perth 10.5 (65) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 26,186)

A superbly skilled and precise defensive effort on a perfect football day by the Cardinals sees East Perth on 0.1 (1) fifteen seconds before half-time, and they never have hope of winning.[27]

Second semi-finalEdit

Second semi-final
Saturday, 10 September Perth 23.16 (154) def. East Fremantle 15.10 (100) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 23,019)

With Peake and Wiley both absent, Perth rebound dramatically from their last round debacle with Murray Couper kicking eight.

Preliminary finalEdit

Preliminary final
Saturday, 17 September East Fremantle 17.15 (117) def. West Perth 15.11 (101) Subiaco Oval (crowd: 23,193)

Grand FinalEdit

1977 WANFL Grand Final
Saturday, 24 September Perth def. East Fremantle Subiaco Oval (crowd: 44,381)
4.4 (28)
12.7 (79)
19.10 (124)
 26.13 (169)
Q1
Q2
Q3
 Final
2.3 (15)
6.4 (40)
10.9 (69)
 14.12 (96)
Simpson Medal: Wim Rosbender (Perth)
Couper 6, Farrant 4, Mitsopoulos 3, Wiley 3, Hargrave 3, Currie 2, Johnson 2, Gibellini, Hill, Rosbender Goals Judge 4, Turco 3, Durnthaler 3, Peake, Jez, Reid, Ryan
Currie, Inman, Rosbender, Watt, Johnson, Hargrave, Day Best Reid, Neesham, Becu, Peake, Durnthaler, Diver

Perth’s brilliant fleet of small men, with Wiley back for the first time in nine weeks, and a fast-running defence, completely outplays Old Easts to kick the highest ever WA(N)FL Grand Final score.

State of Origin matchEdit

Western Australia vs Victoria
Saturday, 10 October Western Australia def. Victoria Subiaco Oval “This Makes It a New Ball Game”[28]
6.5 (41)
9.9 (63)
17.9 (111)
 23.13 (151)
Q1
Q2
Q3
 Final
0.0 (0)
3.4 (22)
4.6 (30)
 8.9 (57)
Simpson Medal: Barry Cable
Max Richardson 6, Alexander 3, Monteath 2, Moss 2, Magro 2, Young 2, Sidebottom 2, Reid, Cable, Sewell, Featherby Goals Moore 4, Hendrie 2, Schimmelbusch, Picken

This was the first State of Origin game, and saw Western Australia inflict a crushing reversal on Victoria, who had previously been able to utilise countless players born and bred interstate. In the absence of Leigh Matthews and Kevin Bartlett, the Victorian roving division was slaughtered by Cable, Monteath and Max Richardson who kicked six straight.[29]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Poat, Peter, ed. (1977). "Scoring Record". Ross Elliott's West Australian Football Register: 15.
  2. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘Swans Run South into the Ground’; The West Australian, 28 March 1977, p. 71
  3. ^ East, Alan; ‘12-goal Sewell Seals It for East F‘Tle’; The West Australian, 29 March 1977,pp. 84, 83
  4. ^ Christian, Geoff; ‘Ruck-Rovers Get Eats F‘Tle Machine Rolling’; The West Australian, 4 April 1977, p. 72
  5. ^ Wright, Frank; ‘Campbell Is a Saviour’; The West Australian, 4 April 1977, p. 72
  6. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘High-Flyer to Set the Turnstiles Clicking’
  7. ^ Christian, Geoff; ‘South Welcome Siren – And First Win’; The West Australian, 12 April 1977, p. 88
  8. ^ "WAFL Footy Facts: Quarters and Halves". Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  9. ^ a b Perth: Highest Scores
  10. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘Perth Beaten – But a Problem Solved’; The West Australian 25 April 1977, p. 66
  11. ^ East, Alan; ‘Casey the Inspiration’; The West Australian; 25 April 1977, p. 66
  12. ^ East, Alan; ‘Subiaco Take It to East Perth’; The West Australian; 2 May 1977; p. 63
  13. ^ "WAFL Footy Facts: Biggest Wins with Less Scoring Shots". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  14. ^ Wright, Frank; ‘Odds Had to Go the Way of South’; The West Australian; 16 May 1977, p. 86
  15. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘South Defence Is Looking Tougher’; The West Australian; 23 May 1977; p. 54
  16. ^ Christian, Geoff; ‘West Perth Salvo Sinks South’; The West Australian; 30 May 1977, p. 87
  17. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘100 on a Countback’; The West Australian; 15 August 1977; p. 58
  18. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘Subiaco’s Hopes Shattered’; The West Australian; 30 May 1977, p. 87
  19. ^ Christian, Geoff; ‘West Perth Get Record Hiding’; The West Australian; 13 June 1977, p. 75
  20. ^ Wright, Frank; ‘Shades of 1964 at East Fremantle’; The West Australian; 20 June 1977; p. 62
  21. ^ Christian, Geoff; ‘Bold Move Pays Off Handsomely’; The West Australian; 11 July 1977, p. 75
  22. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘One Bad Quarter Spells End for South’; The West Australian; 7 August 1977
  23. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘East Fremantle Now Have What It Takes’; The West Australian; 15 August 1977; p. 58
  24. ^ ‘East Perth Need to Liven Up’; The West Australian; 22 August 1977; p. 83
  25. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘Armstrong Will Have His Work Cut Out’; The West Australian; 29 August 1977, p. 83
  26. ^ See East, Alan; ‘Perth Far too Nimble’; The West Australian; 20 June 1977, p. 62 for details of Swan Districts’ injury troubles
  27. ^ Hopkins, Colin; ‘West Perth Were Too Systematic’; The West Australian; 5 September 1977
  28. ^ Christian, Geoff; ‘This Makes It a New Ball Game’; The West Australian; 10 October 1977, p. 64
  29. ^ Phillips, Steven (10 October 1977). "Vics Get 94-Point Hiding". The Age. p. 32.

External linksEdit