East Fremantle, Western Australia

It’s late in a derby at East Fremantle Oval, the home of the Sharks, in 2004. South Fremantle, the bitter enemy, are about to go forward, scores are level. And the winning raffle ticket number is clearly displayed. Do you ever wonder how often the raffle prize is actually picked up?

For many years the two Fremantle teams were co-tenants at Fremantle Oval. East Fremantle, then known as Old East, moved permanently to their new home in 1953.

There was, however, an earlier move. Old East made East Fremantle their home in 1906. But, as Dolph Hendrich pointed out in The Jubilee Book of the East Fremantle Football Club (1947) the move was not a success. “… for the ground was rather exposed to the winter gales, on the small side, and rather primitive in the matter of comfort for the players. The public found the locality rather out of the way… and the following year saw the Club back again at the scene of many former triumphs – the Fremantle Oval.”

While no longer small nor primitive East Fremanle Oval is still not the place to be when the winter gales blow.

Fans of the Sharks are always keen to remind you they’ve won more WAFL premierships than any other club, they’ve produced a trio of Brownlow Medal winners (Simon Black, Shane Woewodin, Ben Cousins) and have more players on AFL lists than anyone. It’s all true but you’re not obliged to listen to them.

From midway through the 1945 season to early in 1947 East Fremantle won 35 games in a row. The team’s undefeated season under coach Jerry Dolan in 1946 is the finest achievement by a WAFL club.

Among all the great players George Doig stands tallest, though for a full forward he was quite short. Doig was the first player to score 100 goals in a WAFL season. He kicked 106 in his first season for East Fremantle in 1933 and more than 100 in each of his first seven seasons. In all he scored 1,111 goals, keeping the scoreboard attendant very busy.

And, by the way, South Fremantle won the 2004 derby by seven points: 14.10 (94) to 13.9 (87).