Two-time Premiership Captain Mark Bickley has plenty of never-before-told stories, following a 13-year AFL career spanning across 272 games, and three years within the coaching ranks.

This year, Bicks will be lifting the lid on those stories with us, taking you inside the four walls at West Lakes, with an aim of giving an insight into football life.

In this week’s column, Bicks lifts the lid on a special friendship with a former West Coast coach and how he could’ve ended up an Eagle if a little secret had got out.

During the 1994 off-season, we were lucky enough to be part of an AFL bid to take our great game worldwide.

Having just completed our fourth season in the AFL and coming off an 11th-place finish, it was decided  we would play West Coast in a post-season exhibition game in London.

Players and staff were flown over for the game, which was hosted at The Oval, an international cricket ground in Kennington.

The game happened just 15 days after the Eagles beat Geelong in the 1994 AFL Grand Final.

Although the tour is well-known for being the moment we found out the Club had acquired the rights to recruit Andrew McLeod, there’s another story that hasn’t been told - until now.

I didn’t play in the game due to a foot injury, but I was lucky enough to fly over with everyone.

I wanted to go for a walk early one morning, so I left the hotel to do so.

It was a pretty foggy morning and I could sense a man following me, so I quickly made my way back to the hotel, without going too far.

When I got back to the lobby, Mick Malthouse, who was West Coast’s Senior Coach at the time, was about to go for a walk with then assistant Rob Wiley.

I told them what happened and Mick said ‘we were just about to go for a walk, so you can come with us’.

So I went along and the three of us got chatting.

In conversation, I mentioned to Mick that all of us Crows players had signed a waiver to agree to being traded that year.

That was unbeknown to every opposition club, with our recruiting and coaching staff telling them only 10 had signed the waiver and agreed to be traded.

Mick said to me on that walk; ‘if I had known you had signed the waiver, I would’ve tried to get you over to us’.

He was then staying at the same hotel as us in Melbourne ahead of the 1997 Grand Final and he watched our last training session before the game.

After the training session, Mick hung around to wish me good luck and said he had been following my career since our chat in London.

Mick also said he thought we were going to win because Blighty (Malcolm Blight) had already coached in three Grand Finals, so that would give us a five-goal head start.

We won the 1997 flag by 31 points!

Can’t wait to watch us add another chapter to our clashes with the Eagles this Sunday.

Go Crows!