Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis was mobbed by an over-excited AFL fan, and an awkward run-in with Daniel Chick was avoided as West Coast flew to Melbourne on Thursday ahead of their grand final showdown with Hawthorn.
The Eagles were forced to go into crisis mode early on Thursday when former premiership star Chick dropped a bombshell by revealing explicit details about the toxic drug culture that engulfed the club during its 2006 flag-winning campaign.
Coincidentally, both Chick and West Coast were booked in for flights from Perth to Melbourne on Thursday.
But the two-hour time difference between their respective flights meant they didn’t cross paths at the airport.
Chick’s revelations of rampant drug use among West Coast’s 2006 premiership stars loom as a major distraction as the Eagles attempt to win this year’s flag.
West Coast were greeted by about 50 fans in the terminal when they arrived at Perth Airport on Thursday, with the team quickly ushered through to the security area.
As Priddis was walking towards the boarding gate about 30 minutes later, an elderly woman holding a West Coast flag went up to him for a big hug.
Priddis was all smiles as he eventually wiggled himself free of the woman, with Eagles players cheered on by their fellow travellers as they walked through the gate.
Last week’s emergencies Scott Lycett, Scott Selwood and Patrick McGinnity were among the travelling party, along with young defender Jackson Nelson.
Yellow and blue balloons adorned the check-in counters, while the sniffer dogs were decked out in West Coast jackets.
But it was an otherwise low-key departure for the Eagles, keen to fly under the radar before taking part in Friday’s grand final parade.