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West Coast Eagles Win The 2006 AFL Premiership


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Last year it was Sydney's Leo Barry but in 2006 it was West Coast's Daniel Chick who was the hero as the Eagles avenged their 2005 AFL premiership loss to the Swans with a heart-stopping one point win over Sydney in the Grand Final re-match to end all re-matches at the MCG on Saturday.

After the Swans won by four points in 2005 to claim their first flag for 72 years this time it was the Eagles in the first Grand Final to be decided by a point since St Kilda's famous 1966 win over Collingwood.

In a magnificent finish the ball was just inside the Swans' forward 50 when the siren sounded to end their dream of back-to-back flags for the first time.

But this year the glory was all with John Worsfold's magnificent Eagles, who claimed their third AFL premiership and their first since 1994 with a thrilling 12.13 (85) to 12.12 (84) victory with Andrew Embley winning the Norm Smith Medal for best afield.

However in an incredible final quarter, as these two amazing teams staged their fifth consecutive match which was decided by less than a goal, it was two valuable 'one percenters' from one of the Eagles' oldest players that proved the difference.

Just as last year when Barry took a match-saving mark in the final seconds to seal Sydney's win, this time it was Chick who both steadied and saved the Eagles just when they threatened to be overrun by the Swans after having totally dominated a one-sided first half.

With the Eagles hanging onto a one point lead at the 23 minute mark of the final term, Chick produced a superb smother on a defensive kick from Ryan O'Keefe and the resultant turnover enabled Adam Hunter to run into an open goal to give West Coast a seven point lead and vital breathing space.

Then after Nick Malceski again cut the margin to a point with just under three minutes left with a left foot snap, Sydney threatened to win the game when Ted Richards was about to send the Swans' deep into attack.

But again it was Chick who saved the day as he somehow conjured up the energy in his 30-year-old legs to put pressure on Richards and force him to kick out on the full.

Chick's two actions might have been far from glamorous, but in a match in which virtually nothing again separated these teams - their last five games have now been decided by a total of just 12 points - they proved the difference.

But when the match got underway it appeared the amazing run of close matches between these two great rivals was about to come to an end as the Eagles totally dominated from the outset.

By the 11 minute mark of the first term the Eagles had already piled on three goals to nil and had already kicked more goals than they managed in the entire first half in last year's Grand Final.

With Dean Cox totally dominating the hit-outs and Embley seemingly everywhere the Eagles led by 16 points at the first change as the Swans appeared to suffer a taste of big game nerves despite going into the game as the reigning premiers.

The Swans missed four set shots in the opening term - two to Jude Bolton - and another to Barry Hall in a portion of what was to come for the Swans' hardman, who endured one of the most disappointing days of his career as he was thrashed by West Coast's All-Australian full-back Darren Glass, who proved without doubt he is now the best defender in the game.

When the marvellous Embley kicked the opening goal of the second term to give the Eagles a 21 point lead it appeared a blow-out was on the cards, but the Swans somehow hung in there despite Hall offering little and dual Brownlow Medalist Adam Goodes struggling to get into the game as only defender Tadhg Kennelly and inspirational midfielder Brett Kirk had played anywhere near their best in the first half.

While the Swans attack struggled in the first half in managing only four goals, the much-maligned Eagles' forward line had functioned well with Quinten Lynch - whose absence in last year's Grand Final proved such a big loss to the Eagles - booting two goals in the second term after his fellow key forward Ashley Hansen had booted two in the opening term.

The Eagles led by 25 points at half-time but a complete change came over the game in the third term as the Swans finally began to put their usual pressure game on the Eagles.

With Kirk amassing 11 touches for the term, Nic Fosdike 12 and surprise packet Richards 11, the Swans surged to within 11 points at the last change with Nick Davis, who was the Swans' most dangerous forward, kicking a vital goal from 55 metres just before the three-quarter-time siren.

And when Goodes kicked a fantastic goal on the run just 13 seconds inside the start of the final term after a quick centre clearance from the impressive Jarrad McVeigh and a rare contribution from Hall, the Swans were within five points and appeared to have the momentum on their side.

But this year the Eagles would just not be denied and with Embley switching to defence, they were just able to hold out in a Grand Final that was every bit as good as last year's memorable play-off.

John Worsfold said his feeling post-match was one of satisfaction.

"Satisfaction because of the work you put in and for whatever reasons you like, we are the premiership team of 2006," he said.

"We put the work in and had faith in what we did even though we were questioned on a lot of issues. I have no doubt we put the work in to win a premiership."

He also expressed his delight to have delivered further footy honours to skipper Chris Judd and former skipper Ben Cousins.

"It's also satisfying because champion players like Ben and Chris now become premiership players."

Sydney coach Paul Roos beamed with pride despite the defeat.

"To come back and give ourselves a chance to win the game was a tremendous effort. They played better in the first half and we played better in the second half, but I couldn?t be more proud or pleased with their efforts," Roos said.

"It?s disappointing because you want to win the game, but you can't do anything about it now."

"It would have been nice to go 2-0 (in grand finals) but you can?t be too greedy."

SYDNEY: 1.4, 4.6, 8.11, 12.12 (84)

WEST COAST: 4.2, 8.7, 10.10, 12.13 (85)

GOALS ? Sydney: O'Loughlin 3, Davis 3, Mathews, Roberts-Thomson, Goodes, Schneider, O'Keefe, Malceski

West Coast: Lynch 3, Embley 2, Hansen 2, Cousins 2, Judd, Armstrong, Hunter

BEST ? Sydney: Fosdike, Richards, Kennelly, O'Loughlin, McVeigh, Kirk, Goodes

West Coast: Embley, Chick, Judd, Glass, Lynch, Selwood, Braun

INJURIES ? Sydney: Ablett (hamstring)

West Coast: Nil

CHANGES ? Nil

REPORTS - Nil

UMPIRES - Vozzo, Allen, Goldspink

CROWD - 97,431 at the MCGat the MCG

What an awesome game. Go Eagles!!

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it was a very very good game... a dissappointing result though... i rkn one more minute and syd wouldve won..suh an awesome comeback...so close!!!

my god!! Hall kicked no goals whatta ***

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it was a very very good game... a disappointing result though... i rkn one more minute and syd would've won..suh an awesome comeback...so close!!!

my god!! Hall kicked no goals whatta ***

Yeah Barry Hall didn't have a good game. Darren Glass played really well on him.

Hall missed 2 easy shots for goal in the first half though.

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Watched that game too.

Storm got robbed!! :whistle:

Yes. Yes they did. But it doesn't matter, because my team won the grand final! :D

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