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Scott West

Best in the west

Scott West has been inducted into the Hall of Fame

June 4, 2013  8:38 PM

IT MIGHT shock some Bulldogs fans – and torment their Magpie counterparts – to learn that Scott West once came within a whisker of joining Collingwood.

West can’t recall the exact year – he suggests it might have been at the end of 2000 – but a couple of things are certain: he was in the prime of an already decorated career that had only reached its halfway point, and he considered, and even envisioned, what it would be like to be a Magpie.

"I seriously, seriously considered moving to Collingwood," West said.

"It came very close to happening – half-an-hour or so before the (trade) deadline for signing it off.

"Collingwood is obviously a great club, they were on the rise under Mick Malthouse, and the opportunity to play alongside guys like Nathan Buckley, Scott Burns and Paul Licuria in the midfield would have been, on reflection, great in my career.

"But I felt a huge bond with the Bulldogs. I'd been there since 1990 as a 15-year-old, and I was vice-captain, so I decided to be loyal to the club.

"Collingwood played in Grand Finals in '02-'03, and it's a huge regret of mine not playing in a grand final or winning a premiership. But I'm happy to say I was a one-club player."

The Bulldogs were no doubt happy as well, with West going on to play 324 games for the Dogs' (fourth on their all-time list), winning a club-record seven best and fairests, the ruck-rover's spot in the Bulldogs Team of the Century, five All Australian selections, and five top-four placings in the Brownlow Medal.

He also earned universal respect for his dogged style, which is recognised by the Bulldogs' most courageous player award being named in his honour.

Like Buckley, West set high training standards for himself and his teammates. He believes it drove him to produce maximum output.

"I was pretty relentless in my preparation," he said.

"At times it got me into trouble with some teammates because they may not have been going as hard as I thought they should have been. But I think you have to drive others if you truly believe it's required to bring you success."

West says he was never stats-driven, but his raw numbers make impressive reading.

The former Bulldogs' No.7 is the seventh-most prolific ball-winner over the past 40 seasons , with his disposal average of 25.38 eclipsing the likes of fellow Hall of Famers Robert Harvey (25.21) and Buckley (24.6).

A left-footer and prolific handballer who prided himself on winning contested ball and feeding outside runners, he topped 40 touches on four occasions, with his best effort of 45 coming in a seven-point win over Adelaide at the MCG in round 20, 2006, a victory which helped set up a finals berth.

Former Bulldogs coach Terry Wallace – to whom West says remains "indebted" – has often said that one of West's virtues was that he rarely dipped below a seven out of 10 performance, regardless of the pressure.

The closest West came to a grand final appearance was in 1997, when the Dogs surrendered a five-goal lead against eventual premier Adelaide in the preliminary final. West, then 22, was his side's best player, amassing a game-high 33 disposals (including a personal-best 28 kicks), but in his mind it counted for nothing.

The hurt still lingers.

"I remember that game as vividly as my first game," he lamented.

"I think about it a lot, but I've never been able to bring myself to watch a replay of it."

- by Ben Collins

Club: Western Bulldogs
Born: November 14, 1974
Recruited from: Strathmore/Essendon Grammar
Playing career: 1993-2008
Games: 324
Goals: 104
Honours: 2nd Brownlow Medal 2000, 2006; 3rd Brownlow Medal 1998; best and fairest 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005 (club record); 2nd best and fairest 2001, 2006; 3rd best and fairest 1998, 2007; All-Australian 1998, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006; Victoria (1 game, 0 goals).

 

I was pretty relentless in my preparation. At times it got me into trouble with some teammates because they may not have been going as hard as I thought they should have been