“Bring back the biff. Let’s get it rocking.”
This war cry from Fremantle coach Ross Lyon on Wednesday would have filled the hearts of western derby traditionalists with a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Could the derby fisticuffs of old be making a return?
But, well, he’s only joking. We think so anyway.
Not since the demolition derby in round 21, 2000 have things gotten totally chaotic between West Coast and Fremantle.
Sure there’s been flashpoints since then, but the all-out brawls have been left behind.
Or have they?
Both teams will enter Saturday night’s derby at Domain Stadium feeling like they’ve got a score to settle.
In the last match between the two sides, Fremantle defender Alex Silvagni copped a four-match ban for his crude off-the-ball hit on Jamie Cripps.
But the biggest controversy was the biting incident involving Chris Masten and Nick Suban.
Masten copped a two-week ban after being found guilty of biting Suban’s arm, with the Docker requiring antibiotics to avoid infection.
The tribunal meeting became a frosty affair, with Suban later accused of breaking the players’ code of silence.
The bad blood from that derby could very well carry over into Saturday night.
And even though Lyon was only tongue in cheek when talking about bringing back the biff, he did little to play down the potential for emotions to spill over.
“Anything’s possible,” Lyon said.
“I’m not out there mate. I sit in the comfort of the box. I’ll leave it to the players to sort out. I’m sure they’ll be fine.”
Masten is almost certain to return for the derby after tallying 28 disposals in the WAFL last week in his first match back from an ankle injury.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson said he wouldn’t need to talk to Masten about the biting incident ahead of the midfielder’s potential re-match with Suban.
“It’s a long time ago. And every game presents different issues and energies,” Simpson said.
“I’m not going to touch on that.”
Both sides enter the match desperate for victory on the back of poor performances on the weekend.
Fremantle are in danger of slipping out of the premiership race after opening their season with losses to the Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast.
West Coast are licking their wounds following Sunday’s 46-point loss to Hawthorn in the grand final re-match at the MCG.
Eagles midfielders Luke Shuey (ankle) and Liam Duggan (ankle) face fitness tests this week, while Lyon will consider handing Jon Griffin a recall to help counter the influence of West Coast ruck duo Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett.
Dockers veteran Matthew Pavlich is expected to play despite copping a knock to the hip in last week’s 26-point loss to the Suns.