It’s hard to find a better feeling than waking up and realising it wasn’t all a dream: Perth have qualified for WAFL finals for the first time in 23 years.
Deprived fans have taken to social media to share their elation following yesterday’s drought-breaking result, with their five point win over South Fremantle securing their place in the top four for the first time since 1997.
Former Eagle Adrian Barich led the chorus online this morning, tweeting ‘It’s not a dream,’ alongside a photo of The West Australian’s back page.
Former Eagle turned Demon Chris Masten, who is currently sidelined due to injury, was snapped in the rooms with his teammates celebrating the famous win.
WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt even joined in the fun, sharing his elation alongside a photo of Perth president Bob Shields.
“Huge night at Lathlain Park celebrating the Perth Demons knocking off South Freo to slip into the finals!! Club President, Bob Shields, a happy man!” he wrote.
Awaiting Perth in the first semi-final is West Perth, a team they haven’t been able to beat since 2011, marking 18 losses in row.
However players and fans haven’t looked that far ahead, instead enjoying the celebrations while they can.
The finals berth comes following a gutsy final-quarter effort that saw them kick 1.8 in an arm-wrestle finish, as they knocked off the ladder-leaders in a hot contest.
“That is the story of Perth footy club over the past 20 odd years,” an emotional coach Earl Spalding said after the match.
“We just make life so difficult for ourselves.”
Alas, they got there in the end.
An historic day in the WAFL as the redleggers qualify on the same day Subiaco miss finals for the first time since 2013 following their 19-point loss to West Perth.
PERTH 2.3 5.6 7.10 8.18 66
SOUTH FREMANTLE 3.3 5.6 9.7 9.7 61
GOALS – PERTH: M Rogers 3; J Richardson B Colledge M Jones F McInnes L McDonald.
SOUTH FREMANTLE: M Shaw 2 K Stewart 2 C Datson 2 B Rioli B Donaldson D Main
BEST – PERTH: A Fisher M Rogers J Richardson B Colledge J Coniglio B Grey
SOUTH FREMANTLE: K Stewart J Dragovich C Pearson D Main B Donaldson B Rioli
INJURIES – SOUTH FREMANTLE: C Luff J Maskos B Wilson (all rested) replaced by K Barker G Byron K Hamersley
UMPIRES: B Jago B Laycock R Shelton
CROWD: About 2500 at Mineral Resources Park