West Coast premiership coach Adam Simpson had an inkling that last year’s grand final would go down to the wire, even before the second half had commenced.
Remarkable footage captured by AFL.com.au reveals what Simpson and Buckley said to their charges before and during the heart-stopping premiership decider.
And it was Simpson who read the playbook better, with an eerily prophetic half-time address which foretold the heroics of premiership hero Dom Sheed.
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“We’ve kicked four out of the last five goals, boys. You know that, right? So you feel the game is starting to turn,” Simpson declared.
“We are so close to going over the top. It might take until the last five minutes, just like last time.”
On the other side of the MCG, Buckley was preaching the same message; play harder, for longer.
“We are forcing them to play outside of the game style that they want and it’s just going to be a matter of doing it for longer,” Buckley told his players.
At three-quarter time the ledger was famously even with momentum on West Coast’s side.
The Eagles had hauled in Collingwood’s five-goal head start and were playing the game on their terms.
Simpson – a man not renowned for mincing his words – had one final memo.
“Our whole year comes down to this and all I can think of his have heart and guts,” he said.
“Let’s get this done boys, let’s go!”
Buckley was just as passionate: “I am so proud of you boys and I trust in every one of you.”
“The scoreboard will look after itself. Take the game on. Play your role. Trust and be aggressive with what we do in everything.”
What transpired will go down in West Coast folklore as one of the greatest wins in AFL/VFL history.
Sheed’s ice-cool goal from the boundary with less than two minutes remaining. The absence of stars Nic Naitanui, Brad Sheppard and Andrew Gaff. The narrative surrounding West Coast’s capacity to win at the home of football.
A fairytale of sorts, though that’s not how Simpson described the occasion pre-game.
“I said to the players a couple of times, there’s no fairytale with us,” he said.
“Making the most of an opportunity in every season is what it’s all about.”