Peter Matera

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Peter Matera
Personal information
Nickname(s) Roo
Date of birth (1969-04-03) 3 April 1969 (age 55)
Place of birth Wagin, Western Australia
Original team(s) South Fremantle (WAFL)
Position(s) Wing
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1990–2002 West Coast 253 (217)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1989–1997 Western Australia 5 (4)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2002.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Peter Matera (born 3 April 1969) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for the West Coast Eagles in the Australian Football League (AFL). He is regarded as one of the greatest West Australians and indigenous players being a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame and Indigenous Team of the Century as well as being 5 time All-Australian and 2 time premiership player.

Best known for his run and carry playing style he is best remembered for his best on ground performance in the 1992 Grand Final which won him the Norm Smith Medal.

Early life[edit]

Matera was born in Wagin, Western Australia[1] to an indigenous (Noongar) mother and an Italian father.[2] He has seven siblings (Walter, Frank, Michael, Gino, Phillip, Gerard and Carmel), two of which were his older brother Wally Matera, and younger brother Phillip Matera, who both played football at the elite level. Matera played soccer as a youngster and was influenced by the success of Wally in playing Australian rules football.

Matera was recruited from South Fremantle in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) with the 4th selection in the 1989 National Draft.

AFL career[edit]

He made his debut in 1990 for West Coast. Playing just five games in his debut season for the Eagles, Matera broke through as a star youngster in 1991, finishing fourth in the Brownlow Medal and earning All-Australian honors. Matera followed up with an excellent 1992, unlucky to miss AA honours once more but capped off the season with an outstanding finals series.

Finest hour[edit]

Peter Matera permanently etched his name into football folklore with his outstanding performance in the 1992 Grand Final. The West Coast Eagles captured their first premiership on the back of Matera's excellent five goal effort from the wing. The image of Matera "setting sail for home" is considered by many[by whom?] to be the definitive moment in West Coast history. Matera collected the Norm Smith Medal for his best on ground performance.

Prime of career[edit]

Matera continued to establish himself as one of the games legitimate stars and most dangerous players throughout the mid-1990s. His outstanding goal sense and reading of the play made Matera a true game breaker. Selected as an All-Australian again in 1993 and 94, Matera also was something of a surprise[to whom?] runner up in the 1994 Brownlow Medal count, polling 28 votes, including four straight best of ground performances. Matera was also a key member of West Coast's second premiership team in 1994 – while he did not repeat his 1992 heroics, it was later revealed he played the Grand Final under much duress due to a stress fracture in his leg.

Moving back[edit]

With his trademark speed on the decline, 1996 saw Peter Matera reinvent himself as a half back flank with great success. This part of his career is often overshadowed by his outstanding years as a wingman but Matera made a fine defender and once again enjoyed All-Australian status in 1996 and 1997. Matera was named on a wing in West Coast's team of the decade in 1996.

Brother Phil[edit]

1996 also saw Matera joined at West Coast by his younger brother Phillip. A fine player in his own right, Phillip was a speedy forward pocket who emerged from his brother's shadow later in his career to be regarded as one of the better goal sneaks of his time. Affectionately known as "Fido", Phil Matera retired after the 2005 season playing 179 games and kicking 389 goals for West Coast.

Club Champion at last[edit]

After four top five finishes in the strong West Coast team of the 1990s, Matera won his first Club Champion Award in 1997. Finishing two votes clear of fellow Eagles' champion Dean Kemp. Despite only winning the award once, Matera's consistency throughout the 1990s elevates his status amongst West Coast greats.

The Demon decision[edit]

The most controversial moment of Peter Matera's career came in late 1997 when he shocked the football world by declaring his intentions to leave the West Coast Eagles and join the Melbourne Football Club via the pre-season draft for the 1998 season. Citing a desire to play more at the MCG, Matera's announcement triggered major public outcry in Western Australia and saw many of his longtime Eagles teammates, including captain John Worsfold visit Matera's home (which was staked out by the media).[citation needed] Days after news of Matera's defection broke, he did a back flip, agreeing to stay on at the West Coast Eagles. While he remained in the blue and gold for the rest of his career, many[who?] believed his form slump in 1998 was a result of the extreme pressure he was placed under as a result of his decision to originally leave the club.

Winding down[edit]

Matera's form declined once he reached his 30s. Most of his premiership teammates retired around him leaving Matera one of only a handful of experienced Eagles left by the turn of the century – Matera was named a vice captain of the club in 1999, holding this position for three seasons. The team's fortunes took a turn for the worse in 2000 and 2001, missing the finals for the first time since 1989. Matera, while still finishing top 10 in the Club Champion award was not the outstanding performer he was in his prime. 2002 saw the return to the club of legendary Eagles captain John Worsfold, this time in the role of senior coach. Worsfold's return saw the side return to the finals and saw Matera, aged 33, regain some fine form and it appeared he may play on in 2003. To some surprise and disappointment, late in the preseason of 2003 Peter Matera drew the curtain on his illustrious career, succumbing to a persistent thigh injury which had rendered him unable to reach peak fitness.[3]

Peter Matera played 253 games for the West Coast Eagles and kicked 218 goals over 13 seasons. He also played 60 games for South Fremantle and represented Western Australia in state football on 5 occasions.


Played in that season's 
premiership team
Season Team No. Games Totals Averages (per game) Votes
1990 West Coast 37 5 3 3 45 16 61 16 3 0.6 0.6 9.0 3.2 12.2 3.2 0.6 0
1991 West Coast 30 26 32 25 401 134 535 87 56 1.2 1.0 15.4 5.2 20.6 3.3 2.2 18
1992# West Coast 30 23 31 22 349 110 459 63 65 1.3 1.0 15.2 4.8 20.0 2.7 2.8 9
1993 West Coast 30 20 23 24 317 124 441 74 43 1.2 1.2 15.9 6.2 22.1 3.7 2.2 10
1994# West Coast 30 24 21 20 305 108 413 77 68 0.9 0.8 12.7 4.5 17.2 3.2 2.8 28
1995 West Coast 30 20 31 15 284 82 366 74 40 1.6 0.8 14.2 4.1 18.3 3.7 2.0 13
1996 West Coast 30 24 9 10 339 119 458 98 71 0.4 0.4 14.1 5.0 19.1 4.1 3.0 9
1997 West Coast 30 21 7 8 336 132 468 93 39 0.3 0.4 16.0 6.3 22.3 4.4 1.9 21
1998 West Coast 30 21 17 13 294 81 375 76 55 0.8 0.6 14.0 3.9 17.9 3.6 2.6 6
1999 West Coast 30 16 8 6 196 92 288 71 37 0.5 0.4 12.3 5.8 18.0 4.4 2.3 8
2000 West Coast 30 17 22 12 216 88 304 63 39 1.3 0.7 12.7 5.2 17.9 3.7 2.3 1
2001 West Coast 30 19 2 4 245 67 312 69 42 0.1 0.2 12.9 3.5 16.4 3.6 2.2 3
2002 West Coast 30 17 11 4 212 76 288 44 57 0.6 0.2 12.5 4.5 16.9 2.6 3.4 0
Career 253 217 166 3539 1229 4768 905 615 0.9 0.7 14.0 4.9 18.9 3.6 2.4 126

Honours and achievements[edit]



Life after football[edit]

In August 2005, Matera was named on the wing of the Indigenous Team of the Century. Matera said of the honour:

Stephen Michael was my idol as a kid, and we used to hear all about how good Polly Farmer was so to be recognised with them is an honor.

After leaving the football world following his retirement, Matera dabbled in coaching in South Western WA before signalling his intentions to return to the game in a larger capacity. Despite being linked by some to the vacant assistant coaching position at West Coast, Matera took on an assistant coaching and mentoring role at the East Perth Football Club in the WAFL for the 2006 season.

On 10 March 2006, Matera was inducted into the Western Australian Football Hall of Fame.[5]

On 22 June 2006, Matera became the first ever career West Coast Eagle to be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Considered one of the highest honours in Australian Football, Matera was pleased to receive the recognition

To be inducted in the highest level of football and accolades as in the Hall of Fame is one of those things that just caps off my career. This more or less finishes my career on a high.

In early 2015, the Matera Foundation was formed to assist Aboriginal Australians in finding employment.

In 2019, it was announced that Matera would join the AFL Tribunal in 2020.[6]

In May 2022, Matera was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack.[7]


  2. ^ We got the keys to the city: AFL great Peter Matera on WA in the 90s By Dr Sean Gorman 1 August 2020
  3. ^ "Tears flow as Matera calls it quits". The Age. 18 March 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  4. ^ Peter Matera's player profile at AFL Tables
  5. ^ "Peter MATERA". WA Football Hall of Fame. West Australian Football Commission. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  6. ^ "AFL 2019: Peter Matera becomes the first indigenous member of AFL tribunal jury". Fox Sports. 5 July 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  7. ^ Healey, Catherine (30 May 2022). "West Coast Eagles great Peter Matera in hospital after suffering 'severe heart attack'". Fox Sports. Retrieved 4 January 2023.

External links[edit]