East Fremantle premiership captain Matthew Jupp says the magnitude of his team’s achievement is only just starting to sink in.
In their first grand final appearance since 2012, the Sharks won their 30th flag and their first since 1998 with a 39-point win over Peel Thunder at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Jupp told Sports Breakfast the celebrations in the aftermath of ending the drought would be longremembered.
“To sum it all up in a few words, I’m not going to be able to do that. I’m so proud of my teammates, the coaching staff, just filled with pride and joy to finally be able to deliver that premiership,” Jupp said.
“I still remember back when I first arrived at East Fremantle, there was a board with all the years that the footy club had won a premiership, all 29 premierships and what year it was.
“The end of the board was 1998, just seeing that number and even back in 2010 how long it had been, I thought ‘that’s my mission now, to put another number on that board’.”
The response of an emotional Jupp was captured on the television broadcast as the final siren sounded, with the 182-game key defender saying his initial reaction was one of pure relief.
“I’ve copped a fair bit of stick for the amount of tears I’ve shed over the last 48 hours, I’ve been a bit of a blubbering mess at times,” he said.
“We were so lucky that we were afforded 5 or 10 minutes knowing the result was in our hands.
“Five minutes to go, the ball was locked in our forward 50, I just had a bit of a chance to look around and I started to well up because we’ve worked so hard for this, so many kicks in the guts and failures and you just keep fronting up every single time hoping you’re going to get this moment.
“It got too much for me, I know that. It was relief, it was joy, the weight off the shoulders of something that you try and achieve for so long, that just got to me.”
The grand final win also marked a second WAFL league premiership for senior coach Bill Monaghan, who joined the then wooden-spooner Sharks in 2018 after being controversially sacked by West Perth following a successful decade in charge, including the 2013 premiership and a grand final appearance in his final season.
While also saying football manager Brad Dodd deserved an equal amount of credit, Jupp said the enormity of what Monaghan had done for the club could not be understated.
“To be honest, at the time we were just craving someone to take control, we needed someone to take over and show the path,” he said.
“Early days, it is blind faith, you’re trusting someone who you don’t really know because of his background, his experience.
“We had nothing to lose, we were literally at the bottom of the ladder and the bottom of the barrel. Some guys in that older group, they couldn’t see it and they couldn’t buy in, that’s just the honest truth of it, and they had to go, they had to leave.
“It took a while. There were times where you do doubt yourself and you doubt the vision … but we believed and he guided us to where we are.”
IMAGE: WA FOOTBALL