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Domain moments: "It was absolutely crazy"

Tom Fee  August 18, 2017 6:54 PM

Matthew Pavlich chats to Sean McManus about his memorable moments at Domain Stadium.

There are few times when an aeroplane celebration is appropriate in football.

But it was spot on as the rain poured down at Subiaco Oval late in the 10th Western Derby between Fremantle and West Coast on 18 July, 1999.

Fremantle were yet to beat their cross-town rival after nine attempts and Brad Wirra celebrated duly as he put Freo 39 points up late in the final term.

That moment was one of many that stood out to ruckman Daniel Bandy, who played 105 games for Freo from 1995 to 2001.

Another highlight came from Tony Modra, who kicked six goals on the day.

Bandy recalled the famous celebration from the third term.

“I’ll always remember ‘Mods’ kicking that goal on the boundary and smacking the ground in celebration,” Bandy said.

“He was going up against Ash McIntosh, who was one of the best full backs going around at the time.”

Fremantle’s celebrations at the siren were relatively muted considering it was the club’s first breakthrough in a bitter rivalry.

Coach Damien Drum allowed a wry smile in the coaches’ box, while Adrian Fletcher paid tribute to West Coast on the Channel 7 TV broadcast. 

The team song told a different story, with commentator Dennis Commetti remarking that it was “sung with gusto like never before”.

When the team left the ground, the real celebrations started.

“I remember the euphoria afterwards more than anything,” Bandy said.

“After the siren, it was all about how quickly can we get to The Left Bank – that’s what it felt like.” 

“West Coast dominated us for numerous years. They were a force to be reckoned with in the 1990s.

“It was good to finally get the monkey off the back.”

At The Left Bank in East Fremantle, Freo fans and players let their hair down.

“It was absolutely crazy. We were treated like rock stars,” Bandy said.

“It was that busy we had to be behind the bar because we couldn’t’ fit anywhere else.

“It was like being in a tin of sardines, you had fans hanging off the rafters. The beer was flowing, the elation was there and it was just one of those special nights.

“Most of the players were pretty worn out, but after they had a few beers they enjoyed the occasion 

“It was just great for the town of Freo. It was a great occasion and it deserved to be celebrated the way it was.”

Bandy played 45 games at Subiaco Oval in his 150 AFL game career with Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs - and the first derby win remains one of his fondest memories.

“You work so hard and train so hard but unfortunately I didn’t get to play finals in my career,” Bandy said.

“So when I look back at the big moments this win really stands out.

“To be a part of that first win and beat our nemesis was fantastic.

“And to do it with some really good players, guys like Chris Bond, Adrian Fletcher, Clive Waterhouse, Clem Michael, Jason Norrish, Stephen O’Reilly – these are the guys who had been there since day one and did the hard yards.

“Because of that, we got the just rewards on the day.”

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