Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Subiaco Oval
Coach Rodney Eade traveled west once again with the Western Bulldogs to take on the West Coast Eagles who were coming off a demoralising loss to Saint Kilda the previous week. The Bulldogs enjoy an impressive winning record at Subiaco Oval and with an unbeaten record in the first three rounds, there were justifiably high expectations of another win.
Starting at a blistering pace in the eighty degree heat, Adam Hunter scored the Eagle's first goal after only twenty seconds. Home-town favourite Daniel Kerr kicked their second five minutes later and the crowd rose as one, sensing that the Eagles of old had finally returned.
Bulldogs neophyte Shaun Higgins steadied the ship with two goals and for the better part of the quarter it was an arm wrestle to see which side could break away. The Eagles had a chance late in the first quarter when the big "Q-stick" Quinten Lynch gave a "don't argue" (Australian slang for a one-arm fend off) to back man Brian Lake, took a mark then converted accurately. The Eagles followed with three more goals, including one to Ben McKinley after the siren, to take them to a twenty point lead at the break.
A second quarter fight back by the Bulldogs kept the game interesting, but the ferocious tackling by West Coast, coupled with accurate ball disposal skills, kept the home team in front with a three goal lead. The Eagles seemed to have taken a leaf out of the Bulldogs' play-book as they applied pressure at every opportunity, causing turnovers and fumbles by the opposition, much to the delight of the local crowd.
While the heat took its toll on the Bulldogs, the Eagles were at home in the warmer conditions in Perth. They stretched their lead during the third quarter and tried to put the game beyond doubt. Tempers heated up when Daniel Kerr was decked by a late hit, causing a scuffle between at least ten players. Kerr's resulting 50 meter penalty and pass to Adam Hunter had the Eagles out to a game-high lead of 33 points. Josh Hill scored a goal on the siren to end the quarter and kept the Bulldogs with some hope of getting up to win the game.
Matt Rosa goaled first for the Eagles and the game began to slip away from the Bulldogs. Multiple skill errors from both teams gave testimony to the pace the game was played at and players tired on both teams. The Eagles finished more strongly and when David Wirrpanda goaled the result was no longer in doubt. The West Coast Eagles finished winners by thirty three points and moved to a 2-2 record for the year.
Best Players West Coast Eagles D Kerr, M Brown, D Cox, M Priddus, A Selwood Western Bulldogs S Higgins, M Boyd, J Akermanis, L Picken Scores: West Coast Eagles 6.4 8.7 14.11 17.14 (116) Western Bulldogs 3.2 5.6 9.7 12.11 (83)
Article last changed on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 9:06 AM EDT