Predatory Eagles Slay Young Lions

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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth.

The West Coast Eagles climbed back into the top eight by sweeping aside the Brisbane Lions in a one-sided game. The Lions had several of their best young players home in Queensland as the visitors put in a brave performance, but were overrun by the more polished and more experienced home team.

The Lions began brightly with several forward-half intercepts and pushes into the attacking arc. Their third attack was finished with a close-range goal from forward Ben Keays. However, the Eagles hit back immediately via Jack Darling who kicked truly. The game then settled into a struggle of defenses, with the Eagles playing a five man attack and the Giants playing a seven man defense. The Eagles pushed large numbers to the ball which put the young Lions players under pressure when trying to find free space. At the thirteen-minute mark wingman Jacob Allisson scored the second goal for Brisbane only to see Jack Darling boot his second a minute later for the Eagles. But the Lions were not to be denied and moved the ball well to allow young big man Josh Schache to kick a major (goal) to keep Brisbane in the game. Athletic ruckman Stefen Martin had the better of the Eagles’ replacement ruckman Drew Petrie; however, the Eagles’ Sam Mitchell and Liam Duggan used guile to intercept taps and give the Eagles first use of the ball. Dane Beams and Daniel Rich put in good first quarters to keep the Lions competitive.

In the second quarter Marc Lecras began the proceedings with a clearance from a stoppage and a brilliant running check-side kick from the boundary, to goal. Then it was all one-way traffic as the Eagles piled on five majors to Brisbane’s three behinds (points). The Eagles had been pilloried by the local media for their final quarter capitulation to Collingwood the previous week; and were determined to show their young visitors who ruled at the Eagles’ home domain.

The Lions appeared more composed after half time and shut down the Eagles rampant scoring with Beams gaining plenty of possessions in the middle and first year player, Alex Witherden, taking marks and giving plenty of drive from defense. It took nine minutes for the Eagles’ Josh Kennedy to kick the first goal for the quarter, which was answered immediately by Brisbane debutant Sam Skinner who kicked his second goal. Six minutes later the second Eagle player to debut this season, Josh Partington, snapped a clever goal across his body. Ryan Bastinac for the Lions and Dom Sheed for the Eagles both kicked majors to finish the quarter.

In the last stanza the young Lions slowed to a walk and the Eagles dominated. Jack Redden played his best game for the Eagles, picking up 27 possessions against his old club. The quick transference of play from the midfield suited the Eagles’ tall forwards, Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling, who marked the pinpointed passes. Kennedy put on a clinic for developing Brisbane fullback, Harris Andrews, by finishing with six goals for the game. The Eagles feasted on the carcass of 18th placed Lions with only captain Tom Rockliff adding a late goal to mark his 150th game for the Lions. It was mostly a miserable day for the young visitors.

Next week the Eagles travel to Etihad stadium to play St Kilda in a match which the Saints have to win to stay in contention for the finals. The Eagles will have to overcome their aversion to travel if they also are to remain in contention for a spot in the top eight. The Lions return to the Gabba and will need all players onboard if they are to trouble the desperate Western Bulldogs, who are sitting just out of the top eight by 5.6 percentage points.

West Coast Eagles  4.1 9.4 12.7 17.11 (113)
Brisbane Lions     3.2 3.5  5.8  6.9   (45)


West Coast Eagles: Sheed, Mitchell, Kennedy, Shuey, Duggan
Brisbane Lions: Beams, Rich, Witherden, Bastinac, Martin

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AFL Standings

 W  L  D %   Pts
Crows  15  6  1  135.98  62
Cats  15  6  1 117.38  62
Tigers  15  7  0  118.29  60
Giants  14  6  2  114.85  60

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2017 AFLW Standings (women's standings)

 W  L  D %   Pts
Lions Women  6  0  1  151.4  26
Crows Women  5  2  0  157.3  20
Demons Women  5  2  0  141.0  20
Blues Women  3  3  1  112.5  14

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