West Coast Eagles

Eagles Stifle Sinking Swans
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

In a tight and closely fought struggle, reminiscent of the great battles between these two clubs a decade ago, West Coast held on to smother a desperate Sydney attempt to post their first win of the year. The Swans, who were the favorites to win last year’s Grand Final, will now have to perform an astonishing revival to make the finals, let alone the Grand Final.

West Coast Overwhelm Wayward Saints
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St Kilda, desperate to atone for their loss to the Melbourne Demons the previous week, led the West Coast Eagles at Domain Stadium until time-on in the final quarter, but it was not enough. On a warm and still Perth night, the Saints’ hard running players ran themselves into the ground on the vast expanses of the Eagles’ home turf. In the final stanza, with both teams nearing exhaustion, it was the class and superior finishing of the Eagles that punished the Saints.

Jobe Watson Loses 2012 Brownlow Medal
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

 The AFL Commission was scheduled to meet on November 15 to discuss, among other things, whether or not to strip Jobe Watson of his 2012 Brownlow Medal. However, about a week before the meeting Watson decided to return the medal himself. He said he had "mixed emotions" regarding his decision. Now the Commission will decide whether or not to award the medal retrospectively to the two runners-up in Sam Mitchell and Dustin Martin. 

Expansion Teams: Finals Success and Failure
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Up until 1986, there were only 12 teams in the then VFL (the name changed in 1990), comprising the original teams from 1896 as well as Hawthorn, Richmond, Footscray (now Western Bulldogs) and North Melbourne being admitted later (see our Footy FAQ for more history). West Coast v Sydney, Grand Final 2005, photo copyright AFANA.All these teams were based in Victoria, seven in Melbourne and the Cats in Geelong (just an hour's drive west of Melbourne). In 1987, the league decided to expand their horizons in an effort to spread the game.

Eagles Savaged by Bulldog Packs
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia.

In a Thursday night (Perth time) elimination final, the Western Bulldogs defied history and the betting markets by shredding the West Coast Eagles at Domain Stadium.  Bulldogs players celebrate as the Eagles players realise the season is over. AFL post season match in Perth. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.Eleven days earlier the Bulldogs had been humiliated at the same venue by losing to the struggling Fremantle Dockers. Experienced tipsters gave the Bulldogs no chance of defeating the Eagles who had lost only one home game this season.

No More Grand Final Replays
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

In the 120 years of Australian Rules Football, there have been only three tied Grand Finals and five tied Finals matches. In most cases, there was always a replay. Up until the introduction of interstate teams, a replay the following week was not an issue with all the teams based in the state of Victoria, Geelong is about a one hour drive to and from Melbourne. However, in 1990 when a Qualifying Final between Collingwood and West Coast ended with scores level, it meant the Eagles would have to return to Perth after the game and then travel back Melbourne the following week for the replay. Needless to say, Collingwood won the replay.

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.

Eagles Knock Hawks From Top Spot
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia.

The clash between the Eagles and the Hawks at Domain Stadium was always going to be a game when one side suffered a setback. The Hawks were on top of the competition and needed to win to stay there. The Eagles were hoping to earn a highly valued home final. Something had to give.

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.

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