The greatest State of Origin game ever, WA v Victoria ’86

Jason Cave Roar Rookie

By Jason Cave, Jason Cave is a Roar Rookie

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    The 1986 State of Origin game at Subiaco between Western Australia and Victoria has rightfully been regarded by many people as one of the greatest games – not just in State of Origin – but in the 150 years of Australian Football.

    It was to be the last of the ‘true’ State of Origin games before the advent of the West Coast Eagles in 1987. Their inclusion meant that the WA football public got to see the best talents of WA (made up of players from the local WAFL like Laurie Keene and current North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley and ex-pats from WA like Leon Baker, Ross Glendinning and Phil Narkle playing in the then VFL in Melbourne) taking on the very best the VFL had to offer, like Paul Salmon, Dale Weightman, Dermott Brereton.

    The coach of the Victorian side was then Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy and the skipper of the Vics was Terry Daniher, while leading the WA team was coach Ron Alexander and skipper, former Geelong player Brian Peake.

    When people talk of great State of Origin matches, and great Australian Rules games, no matter at what level it is this one always gets a mention.

    In all due respect to the games between South Australia and Victoria in the mid 1980’s and early 90’s at Football Park, no other game has been spoken of in revered tones as much as the ’86 State of Origin clash at Subiaco between the Sandgropers and the Vics.

    Ask any of the players who played in that match – Laurie Keene, Greg Williams, Maurice Rioli, Paul Salmon, Dean Laidley, Dermott Brereton just to name a few – where they rate this game, and they’d tell you it was one of the greatest games they have played in their careers, outside of grand finals.

    The first 3 quarters was A-OK, which WA had a lead of 4-5 goals during that time and looked to break away to record a comfortable victory, but Victoria kept WA in check.

    But what happened in the final quarter will never be forgotten by not just those who were at Subiaco, but also watching the game on TV in WA and Victoria.

    24 years later, the memories of this game, and that thrilling last quarter-come flooding back:

    – Brian Peake’s 7 goals for WA
    – Andrew MacNish’s screamer in the last quarter
    – Seven lead changes in the last quarter
    – Andrew Bews’ goal which looked to have the game sealed for the Vics.
    – Brian Royal and Dale Weightman each kicking 5 goals
    – Gary Buckenara’s goal that won the game for WA
    – Wayne Blackwell’s smother that saved the game – and the Australian championships – for WA

    One of the all-time classic games in Aussie Rules history-the 1986 WA v Victoria State of Origin.

    SCOREBOARD-1986 State of Origin

    WEST AUSTRALIA 4.4 9.5 15.10 21. 11 (137)
    VICTORIA 4.5 7.7 12.10 20.14 (134)

    Goals WA: Peake 7, Buckenara 5, MacNish 3, Mitchell 3, Rioli 2, Baker, Wilson
    Goals VIC: Weightman 5, Royal 5, Taylor 4, Brereton 3, Alvin, Bews, Healy

    Simpson Medal: Brad Hardie (WA)
    E.J. Whitten Medal: Dale Weightman (Vic)

    Umpires: David Johnson (WA), Ross Castle (Vic)

    At Subiaco Oval
    Crowd: 39, 863

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • March 19th 2008 @ 9:35am
      Savvas Tzionis said | March 19th 2008 @ 9:35am | ! Report


      But it was the 1984 game between WA and Vic that revealed how great these games can be.

      It was the day Gary Ablett heralded his entry into the echelons of VFL/AFL football with 8 goals in a losing side.

    • March 19th 2008 @ 11:24am
      Jason Cave said | March 19th 2008 @ 11:24am | ! Report

      The 1984 State game might be good, but the ’86 State of Origin was better, especially when you consider the high standard of football played that day and also the unforgettable last quarter which I have highlighted in my article. Take into account too, how many players from the 1986 WA team that ended up playing for West Coast in their first season-Ross Glendinning, Dwayne Lamb, Phil Narkle, Dean Laidley, Laurie Keene, Geoff Miles, Andrew MacNish, plus the coach Ron Alexander. Robert Wiley didn’t play in the 1986 State of Origin game, but was of the West Coast Eagles squad in 1987.

    • March 19th 2008 @ 4:27pm
      Savvas Tzionis said | March 19th 2008 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

      I would have to look at that game again. But your selection of the likes of Dwayne Lamb, Phil Narkle, Dean Laidley, Laurie Keane, Andrew Macnihs and ESPECIALLY Geoff Miles do not help your position. WA has had great players…but those you listed were at best, very good.

      Neverthless, the 1982-1987 period of Interstate games coincided with the greatest era of playing talent (in my opinion) in any era. And those games should be highlighted as presentign te golden era (of course, the AFL can NEVER admit that. It would expose the current style of play as being bereft of any imagination and artistry. I have not been to a game in 6 years!!)

      Ironically the VFL was going through some terrible times in the 1980’s, but that was more to do with many other factors e.g. lopsided competitions, clubs under pressure to fold, people discovering other forms of entertainment (e.g. basketball). And of course, the interstate clubs were being raped by these ‘broke’ and/or ‘greedy’ clubs here in Victoria.

    • March 19th 2008 @ 8:05pm
      Jason Cave said | March 19th 2008 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

      I agree re the period 1982-87 of State of Origin/Interstate Football was the best of all time. Consider the playing talents like these:

      STH AUSTRALIA: Steve Kernahan, Garry McIntosh, John Platten, Michael Aish, Craig Bradley, Peter Motley
      VICTORIA: Dale Weightman, Dermott Brereton, Simon Madden, Terry Daniher, Wayne Johnston, Gary Ablett
      WEST AUSTRALIA: Stephen Michael, Maurice Rioli, Ross Glendinning, Robert Wylie, Brian Peake, Brad Hardie

      And some of those State of Origin games in that period, in particular SA-Vic at Football Park and WA-Vic at Subiaco during that time, was terrific.

    • May 3rd 2008 @ 1:03am
      Matt said | May 3rd 2008 @ 1:03am | ! Report

      I sat on the Roberts Rd side wing near the old scoreboard and watched this match. I was only 12 years old and I will never forget it -Macnish’s mark and subsequent point… then Buckenara setting that snap high into the air and through the goals, not to mention Blackwell’s smother. Christ, what a match. I don’t think I will ever see another one quite like it. Best game of football I ever saw, no doubt. Anyone know where you can get a copy of this match?

    • May 7th 2008 @ 5:57pm
      mal said | May 7th 2008 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

      hey matt ive been looking for a year and still havent found that game as well as the 84 game so i would be very happy if you come across it that you let me know as my local super rules team are at me to find it.