THE longest WAFL premiership drought is over with Perth holding on in a thrilling Reserves Grand Final over Subiaco on Saturday to give the Demons a first premiership in any grade this century.
The pickings have been slim this century for the Demons with the club's last premiership being the colts triumph of 1999 with the reserves having not won a flag since 1996 and famously the league side not having tasted the ultimate since 1977, and only playing one final since 1997.
However, the Perth Football Club theme song beamed around Optus Stadium for the first ever time on Saturday morning as their reserves held out Subiaco in a thrilling finish to win the Grand Final 7.9 (51) to 6.9 (45).
The victory is the 13th reserves premiership for Perth and first since 1996, and was made all the more memorable for the Demons because league stalwarts Christian Eyres (113 games) and Matthew Rogers (161) got to retire from WAFL football by winning the premiership medallions.
Conor McPartland won the Merv McIntosh Medal after being judged best afield for his 18 possessions and 11 tackles for the Demons.
Perth had plenty more hard workers too with Jacob Peletier finishing with 21 possessions, Corey Yeo 19 and Jayden Quill 18. Brodie Gray also had 18 touches and 13 tackles with Mitch Browne gathering 17 possessions and Darby McCarthy 16.
Jack Steel kicked two goals while Eyres had 41 hit outs in the ruck in what will be his last game for the Demons while Rogers kicked a goal to go with his 10 disposals to end his time in the red-and-black.
Ryan Borchet was a league premiership player at Subiaco in 2019 and he stepped up with three goals from six kicks and five marks.
Corey Robinson also had 18 possessions for Subiaco with Kaidyn Fullgrabe rock solid down back with 16 disposals.
Jack Beverley worked tirelessly with 16 touches and 12 tackles while Matthew Johnson had 15 possessions and 10 tackles, and Connor Patterson 12 disposals and 10 tackles. Patrick Mullane also had 15 possessions for Subiaco, Isaac Clinch 12 and Lewis Putt 30 hit outs in the ruck.
Perth qualified for the finals by firstly beating Swan Districts in the qualifying final and then in the second semi-final they defeated Claremont to win straight into the Grand Final, and now they are premiers on the back of winning all three of their finals.
Subiaco had a host of players in their team looking for a reserves premiership to ease the pain of missing selection in the league side for the Grand Final later in the day, but it wasn’t quite to be despite the Lions finishing full of run.
Perth started well with Jack Steel kicking the first goal of the Grand Final before Ryan Borchet answered up the other end for Subiaco.
The Demons still dominated most of the first term to lead by eight points at the first break before Subiaco took over with three goals to one in the second term to head into half-time with a one-point lead with plenty of spice in the contest.
There were some wild scenes as the half-time siren sounded with an all-in melee taking place to add that extra bit of heat into both teams heading into the second half with the premiership up for grabs.
The Demons took hold of the Grand final with four consecutive goals either side of three quarter-time before the Lions had all the running over the final 20 minutes.
Borchet did kick a third goal and the Lions had some chances to close in further but in the end the Demons held on for the six-point win to end their premiership drought club-wide.
OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – FINALS SERIES
RESERVES GRAND FINAL
PERTH 2.3 3.6 6.8 7.9 (51)
SUBIACO 1.1 4.1 5.2 6.9 (45)
PERTH: Goals – Steel 2; Budle, Clark, Jones, Rogers, Browne.
Best – McPartland, Yeo, Gray, Peletier, Quill, Eyres, Browne.
SUBIACO: Goals – R Borchet 3; J Faraone, Robinson, Robbins.
Best – Beverley, Robinson, R Borchet, Mullane, Johnson, Kaidyn Fullgrabe, Patterson.
Merv McIntosh Medal: Conor McPartland (Perth)