It has gone bye a few different names over the years, Patersons stadium, Domain stadium and the house of pain, but really it is just plain old Subiaco Oval. While it is common knowledge that Subi falls well short compared to the premier sporting locations in the country like the MCG, it was all we had here in Perth and still housed some of the great moments in West Australian footy.
I have attended a few games at Subi over the years, being that I am a Fremantle supporter, naturally the Dockers feature in all of them. Seeing that this weekend marks Fremantles last game ever at Subiaco It got me thinking of the games I have watched there. I thought I would make a list of the 5 most memorable games I watched live at Subiaco oval. Please enjoy and let us know your favorite Subiaco oval moments.
Pavs 350: Round 19, 2016
As a Dockers supporter, you wouldn’t think that a 90 point loss would be one of my treasured memories, but this was the last time I got to watch Matthew Pavlich live. My longtime close friend Sam was able to get tickets from a work friend for this game and I jumped at the opportunity to be there for Pavs 350. We were seated just near the 50m arc, a perfect location to watch Matthew Pavlich do his thing. While Freo played horribly on this day I will still always remember this day because it was all about the Pav. As he was chaired off at the end of the game I stood with tears in my eyes and applauded the greatest Docker of all time. I wish I could have been there for his very last game, a win over the Bulldogs. But I am glad that I did get to at least pay respect to his career in some way during his 350th.
Fremantle vs Carlton: Round 22, 2010
This one is memorable for better reasons, primarily the fact it was a great win that set Freo up for finals footy. I attended this game with Crawf and his family, all big time Carlton supporters. Even though it was here at Subi, against Carlton it’s always interesting as the large Blues supporter base here in WA always show up in numbers to cheer on their team. This game was a very tough contest, from memory a win from Carlton would put them in the eight and a win from Freo would give them a home final. Freo went on to win this game in a close one thanks in part to a strong showing from Michael Walters, who’s very vocal uncle was sitting just a couple of seats away from us. Freo went on to beat the hawks in an elimination final but went no further than that.
Western Derby: Round 21, 2000
My first Western Derby. I have been to a few derbies and they are always a fierce contest but this was special. The demolition derby it is now known as but I don’t remember the fighting. My cousin took me to this game, he was a West Coast supporter and loved to stir me up about the Dockers. We had terrible seats, a large pillar was placed right in front of one of our seats that blocked most of the view of the oval, but it didn’t ruin the day for me. At this point in time my absolute hero was Tony Modra, I had the number six on the back of my dockers Guernsey and at training I would try soccering goals through from difficult angles. I was so excited to see him play live, but sometimes life has other plans. Mods got injured about 10 min into the game, with just 1 disposal he took no further part in the game. Luckily for me there was another hero ready to step up this day. In comes Clive Waterhouse, often a joke among football fans, he chimed in with 7 goals in an amazing come from behind 1 point win. This is still the best game I have seen live and a memory that will last with me forever.
Anzac Day: Round 4, 2015
Its not quite Essendon vs. Collingwood at the G’, but attending an ANZAC day game was a highlight for me. This was right in the middle of probably the most dominant run of form in Fremantle Dockers history. They started well, got run down and then finally bounced back and secured a win. I remember this game because Nat Fyfe was spectacular all game long. I also remember thinking how special Buddy Franklin is to watch in person. As an opposition supporter nothing makes you more nervous than when Buddy gets near the footy.
Freo vs. Richmond: Round 13, 1999
This one is special to me even though it was a devastating one-point loss for the Dockers. This was my first ever live AFL game, but that is not the only interesting part of the day. My Father is American, he knew nothing about Australian Rules Football before I started to take an interest. One thing we didn’t realize is that most Fremantle home games are delayed telecast on TV. I was very excited when Dad told me he was going to take me to my first ever game, unfortunately we took the time In the TV guide as the start time of the game…. It was not. We turned up halfway through the third quarter very confused. On the positive side we didn’t need to pay for a ticket. Despite all this I loved it, it was so exciting to hear the roar of the crowd. Whatever people say about Subiaco oval, when it was a packed house and the crowd was roaring it was really something to see and hear. Anyone who knows me knows I am not close with my Dad so that makes this memory even more significant to me. Personally poetic for me that my first game at Subi was Fremantle vs. Richmond and the last Dockers game at Subi is against the same opponent, funny how things work out.
There were a lot of great games played at Subiaco oval, these ones were special to me for my own personal reasons and I’m sure many other games would be memorable to others for reasons of their own. I will always remember that first day at Subi, the sounds, sights and smells. I cant wait to go to the new Perth stadium, maybe one day ill take my Son or cousin or friend there, but I’ll always remember Subiaco.