Matt Priddis

Three More To Bow Out
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Eagles Dispatch Dockers Early In Western Derby
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

The West Coast Eagles entered the 45th Western Derby  with a clear intent to wipe away all memories of their previous round’s meek capitulation to Hawthorn at the MCG. Back in their home territory, the Eagles were in no mood to offer their cross town rivals the opportunity of an upset win.

The AFANA AFL 2016 Finals Preview
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

So, who wins it all? In what looks to be the most open finals series for some time, you could mount a solid argument for six teams that could potentially take out the 2016 premiership. Read on for my take on who can win the Aussie rules championship in 2016 and why – and my pick for the two teams that will meet in the biggest AFL match of the year on October 1st.

I’ll start in reverse order of regular season finish, from eighth to top spot.

Kennedy Kicks Seven Sinking the Dockers
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The West Coast Eagles survived an early scare from the Fremantle Dockers, to win the 44th Western Derby comfortably. Nic Naitanui tries to break free at the center bounce at the start of the game. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.The difference between the two teams was Josh Kennedy, who thrived in the windy conditions to kick seven goals to stretch his lead at the top of the AFL goal kicking table.

Roos Bruised by High Rolling Eagles
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia

The West Coast Eagles showed steely resolve to stare down the North Melbourne Kangaroos to claim their first top eight scalp of the season. With only eight teams making the postseason, and the difficulty in making a postseason run going up with every spot down the standings, this match was crucial to both clubs. In AFL action, Lindsay Thomas flies high to give away a free kick. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.The high stakes of this game included a bonus that the winner could go as high as fifth spot on the ladder and be virtually guaranteed a finals appearance in September. The losing team would be left vulnerable to the pack of the tightly bunched teams around them and teams outside the top eight.

Crows Soar Above Eagles
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia

It was a football purist’s game. Long kicking, high marking and open aggressive play with rapid movement of the ball. It was also a game that had major significance for both clubs. Mark LeCras flies for a mark in the Eagles back line during the Round 12 West Coast vs Adelaide match at Domain Stadium in Perth. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.Adelaide made a comprehensive statement and West Coast folded under the pressure. Two teams headed in different directions.

Eagles Put Dockers Season On the Ropes
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth, Australia

In a prize fight between two of last year's contenders, shown live across the USA on Fox Sports 1, the West Coast Eagles have left a battered Fremantle reeling on the ropes. Natanui Wins the Tap. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.For the first ten minutes the two teams pushed and probed defenses, but neither could score effectively. Fremantle adopted the more defensive stance as their midfielders missed early targets, and gave West Coast's talented group of Luke Shuey, Matt Priddis and Andrew Gaff opportunities to launch seven of the first ten first attacks. 

Relentless Eagles Send Message East
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by Chris Kowald, reporting for AFANA from Perth, Australia

Natanui Wins the First Bounce in the Round 1 Eagles vs Lions match in Australian Football. Photo  by David Woodley for AFANAWest Coast Eagles sent a powerful message east. From the first bounce, when Nick Naitanui flew over opposing ruckman, Stefan Martin, it was clear that the Eagles would not be dispensing Easter cheer. Brisbane though were not to be denied, Tom Rockliff was back to his best, as he showed his young charges how to draw first blood, with a goal at the three–minute mark. The Eagles responded a minute later by kicking long into the forward line.

Eagles Run Down Plucky Roos
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 Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

The West Coast Eagles overcame an early scare to finally dispose of a determined North Melbourne outfit at Domain Stadium in the second Preliminary Final. Despite going into the game as rank underdogs, it was the Kangaroos who made the early running by winning the contested ball and using the ball much better than their favored opponents. The Eagles could only manage two minor scores in the first quarter as their highly vaunted attack was starved of opportunities by a fired up North Melbourne.

Eagles Stun Hawks and Advance to Preliminary Final
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Hawthorn succumbed to the fierce pressure of the West Coast Eagles in the Second Qualifying final at Domain Stadium. Normally the composed Hawks show silky smooth skills and rarely panic with the ball. All their usual composure went out the window as this game unfolded and the Eagles took the Hawks apart.Callum Sinclair and Nic Naitanui celebrate a win over the Hawks. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.

It started as a battle of the defenses with both sides up against tough opposition as they tried to advance the ball. Hawthorn was kicking with the aid of a monster wind in the first quarter but could only manage two goals.

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