West Coast’s first visit to Moorabbin, in Round 8 1987, came with the expansion club on a roll. Three wins on the trot, including a 12-point result over defending premiers Hawthorn, had the Eagles full of confidence. So much so that they would have considered the result of their encounter with the Saints, at that time four-time defending wooden spooners, a foregone conclusion. This assumption was to be proven horribly incorrect.
Not that their error would be immediately apparent. Despite typically difficult ground conditions, the visitors were on fire early and peppered away at goal. Tony Lockett and Rod Owen majors keeping the Saints in it early as Dwayne Lamb, Chris Lewis, Ross Glendenning, Robert Wiley, Don Holmes all kicked opening quarter goals for West Coast. This would prove the high water mark for the visitors. They would manage just one more goal for the match as their hosts did what they pleased at the other end.
The difference in outputs prompted comment from Eagles Coach Ron Alexander post-match. “With Tony Lockett they had some enthusiasm and the reason to kick the ball,” he said. “The whole side was lifted with the situation.” He was less complimentary towards his own forwards. “I think our forward line was disorganised, and they weren’t giving anything near as much as St Kilda was,” he lamented.
The Saints kicked 12 of the last 13 goals of the day to run out 48-point victors. Lockett, on his way to 100 goals for the season and the Brownlow Medal, kicked seven for the day. Owen and Nick Winmar joined him on the scoresheet with two goals, with Greg Burns, Stewart Loewe and John Peter-Budge rounding out the scoring with one each. His efforts would be overshadowed on Brownlow night by those of ruckman Warren Jones.
Jones, in arguably his best game for the club since transferring from Carlton the season before, was a towering presence for the Saints taking six marks around the ground. Outpointing Alex Ishchenko in the ruck, Jones continually gave his onballers first crack at the ball. With this advantage laid out to them by their ruckman, Winmar, Greg Burns, and Frank Coghlan shone in the midfield.
After defeating Richmond a week earlier, the result gave the Saints their first back-to-back victories for three years. Coach Darrel Baldock explained that his team’s game day fortunes were a reward for their efforts on the training paddock and that this was only the beggining. “They have found a new purpose at training and it’s showing out on the field,” he enthused. “We’ll continue to improve throughout the year,” he vowed. “Winning is infectious and things will get easier,” he said.