West Coast Eagles Wiki
N.Melbourne v West Coast
Round 1, 2023
Williams gets tackled. Photo: aflphotos.com.au
Sat, 18 March 2023 (4.40pm WST)
Lost by 5
NM 12.15.87 - 12.10.82 WCE

West Coast's 2023 season started in the same way as much of the 2022 season, with a disaapponting loss to reigning wooden-spooners North Melbourne. In oppressive heat under the closed roof at Docklands, the Eagles started brightly but lost touch with the home side during the second and third terms, with the Kangaroos opening up a 33-point lead. A fightback saw West Coast narrow the margin within a kick, but they couldn't find a way to hit the front before time expired. Liam Ryan kicked three goals and was prominent during the late fightback, and skipper Luke Shuey had 27 touches and eight tackles.


1/4 time 1/2 time 3/4 time Final
North Melbourne 3.4.22 7.7..49 10.9.69 12.15.87
West Coast 3.3.21 4.4.28 8.6.54 12.10.82

Goals: Ryan 3, Allen, Jones 2, Cripps, Darling, Kelly, Long, Shuey

Best: Sheed, Shuey, Ryan, McGovern

Injuries: Nil

Reports: Barrass for striking C.Comben

Substitutes: (WCE) Petruccelle for Jamieson in the third term; (NM) Phillips for Xerri (ankle) at quarter-time

Milestones: Chesser AFL debut, Ginbey AFL debut, Hunt WCE debut, Long AFL debut

Jumper: Clash, white shorts

Named sides[]

West Coast North Melb
B: 25.Hurn 37.Barrass 28.Cole B: 11.McDonald 19.Logue 16.Bonar
HB: 14.Duggan 20.McGovern 5.Hunt HB: 31.Goater 7.Ziebell 8.Scott
C: 3.Gaff 11.Kelly 18.Chesser C: 14.Shiels 24.Powell 12.Simpkin
HF: 4.Sheed 27.Darling 15.Cripps HF: 44.Zurhaar 30.Comben 2.Stephenson
F: 1.Ryan 12.Allen 44.Long F: 3.Sheezel 20.Larkey 5.Taylor
R: 32.B.Williams 7.Ginbey 13.Shuey R: 38.Xerri 9.Davies-Uniacke 28.Turner
I: 23.Witherden 24.X.O'Neill 31.Jones I: 25.Curtis 18.Greenwood 27.Bergman
40.Jamieson 10.Cunnington
E: 2.Waterman 21.Petruccelle 36.West E: 29.Phillips 17.Young 22.Goldstein
39.Clark 42.Dawson

New: Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons), Reuben Ginbey (East Perth), Jayden Hunt (Melbourne), Noah Long (Bendigo Pioneers)

Quarter by quarter[]

Both sides went in as named, with Petruccelle and Will Phillips starting as subs. With hot weather in Melbourne, the match was played under a closed roof.

From the coach[]

"I think it was pretty obvious to everyone the second quarter was a really disappointing quarter, in particular around the midfield, stoppages and scramble of the game. I thought we got dominated. That’s the game in a nutshell, a quarter like that. It has probably happened a little bit in recent times where we do have a quarter like that. But to have a bit of resilience, the boys look fit, so they’ve worked really hard on that and to start to see the players gel in the second half – we’ll take some positives from that. It is about the journey. Four debutants, probably four players who didn’t play last year and just getting that synergy, we know it’s going to take a bit of time, but we can’t accept that second quarter.

"...We can’t accept those fadeaways but we liked the effort in the second half. We’ll keep working on it, we’ve been working on it all summer. Our younger rucks are still learning the craft, we’ve got some young players through midfield with Chesser and Reuben. As the game on went on those kids all did something, it was like ‘OK, there’s something there’. I think Reuben had 12 or 13 tackles, so there’s something there to work with. And then our leaders and older players continue to need to stand up for us, that’s what we rely on.

"It’s a challenge when you’re getting beaten around the ball. It’s contest and it’s stoppage to stoppage, or contest to contest, it’s hard to rectify that. We did some structural things that stopped the bleeding a little bit, but it took us to half-time to work through things, but that’s the game. Like I said it happened a little bit against Adelaide and it happened against Port (in pre-season), we’ve just got to keep working on getting better there."[1]

From the papers[]

The Sunday Times[]

"Despite North's only recognised ruckman Tristan Xerri breaking down with an ankle injury in the first quarter and coach Alastair Clarkson relying on third game forward Charlie Comben and midfielder Hugh Greenwood to compete with Bailey Williams and Callum Jamieson, the Roos dominated at ground level.

They won the clearances 42-25 and the contested possessions 150-116. It was a mauling. Luke Davies-Uniacke won 11 clearances by himself.

The midfield dominance meant the ball lived in North Melbourne's front half as their lead grew to 34 points.

Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass were doing a strong job of intercepting the ball, but the slow, conservative and wide ball movement that has been a standard part of West Coast game's returned."[2]

The Age[]

"Eagles Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass were strong at half-back, dominating the visitors’ marking count to half-time, but the Kangaroos threatened to overwhelm their opponents, even prompting AFL great Leigh Matthews to label the Eagles “pedestrian” during match commentary.

Larkey helped to extend the lead to almost six goals in the third term, the Eagles struggling at stoppages and unable to win the ball in their forward half. However, the visitors, with pride on the line, lifted. The familiar names of Andrew Gaff, Tim Kelly and Shuey began to have an impact, three quick goals changing the narrative.

The Eagles continued to press in the final term, but Larkey’s sixth, from a snap, appeared enough to drag the Roos to victory. However, Shuey’s strong mark and goal from about 40m cut the deficit to three points. Curtis Taylor botched a set shot from 15m out to all but secure victory for the Roos, but it did not matter, as the siren soon came."[3]


Pre-season (17 March)

West Coast's reserves had a narrow win over Claremont at Claremont Oval in the first official scratch match for 2023. Jake Waterman kicked three goals.

1/4 time 1/2 time 3/4 time Final
Claremont 1.2.8 6.5.41 9.5.59 12.6.78
West Coast 4.3.27 5.4.34 9.8.62 12.8.80

Goals: Nitschke, Waterman 3, Barnett, Petrevski-Seton 2, Nelson, Winder

Best: Petrevski-Seton, Waterman, Hough, Nitschke, Foley

Injuries: Burgiel (hamstring)

Named side:

West Coast
B: 19.Hough 42.H.Edwards 53.Henderson
HB: 54.Browne 14.Burgiel 29.Foley
C: 39.Clark 31.Nelson 16.L.Edwards
HF: 7.Dewar 22.Winder 10.Petrevski-Seton
F: 74.J.Edwards 2.Waterman 44.McCarthy
R: 30.Barnett 8.Hewett 26.Trew
I: 38.Collins 51.Eastough 65.Levien
43.Nitschke 72.O'Sullivan 23.Sambo

Injury list[]

In the lead-up to the match the following players were listed as being unavailable:

Player Injury Expected return
Naitanui Achilles TBC
J.Williams Ruptured spleen TBC
Rotham Arm 3-4 weeks
Darling Ankle Available
B.Williams Hamstring Available





  1. westcoasteagles.com.au (20 March 2023), "Pressing questions: Round one": https://www.westcoasteagles.com.au/news/1287461/pressing-questions-round-one
  2. Craig O'Donoghue, Sunday Times (19 March 2023, p.60), "Mids cop a Roo'd shock"
  3. Jon Pierik, The Age (18 March 2023), "Larkey boots six as Kangaroos down Eagles to open Clarkson era in style": https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/larkey-boots-six-as-kangaroos-down-eagles-to-open-clarkson-era-in-style-20230317-p5csyk.html