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Kangaroos Survive Late Eagle Attack

Roos Celebrate (file photo/AFANA)

The North Melbourne Kangaroos withstood a late West Coast Eagles revival to win their first game of the season. The Kangaroos were hungrier than the Eagles and fought harder for the ball for most of the day, winning contested possessions (152 to 137) and laying more tackles (84-62) to create an upset win over the home team. Although the combination of the Eagles' two ruckmen, Matt Flynn and Bailey J Williams, had the edge over North Melbourne's ruckman Tristan Xerri, the Kangaroos were good at stoppages winning forty-eight clearances, which was eighteen more than West Coast. Despite having the edge in the midfield for most of the match, the Kangaroos fell down in attack by initially bombing the ball high to their forwards which suited the intercept skills of the Eagle defenders Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass who shut down many early attacks with their spoiling skills.

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Saints Escape from Eagles

Jack Steele (Dave Woodley/AFANA)

The St Kilda Saints Played a strong last quarter to outlast the West Coast Eagles in a hard-fought game where the lead changed eight times. After three straight losses, it was the Saints fourth win for the season and they stay in fifteenth place on the ladder; but are now a game clear of West Coast who are sixteenth. Remarkably they are just two games out of the top eight, but would need a drastic turn-around in form to trouble the top sides. Things didn't start well before the game for the Eagles. Their mascot, a majestic wedged-tailed eagle (with a wingspan of nearly three yards) refused to follow the script of flying around the arena and landing in the center of the oval. Instead it reached the center, relaunched to check out various views from the bleachers and finally perched himself near the coaches box, keeping a close eye on coach Adam Simpson. The game started once his handler had him (Ozzie the Eagle) under control. For Simpson's sake, it is hoped Ozzie was not sending a message to the club board by impersonating a vulture.

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Eagles Shock Dockers

Elliot Yeo (file photo/AFANA)

The West Coast Eagles shocked an out-of-sorts Fremantle Dockers. They defeated the match favorites by applying pressure at the ball and using direct attacks into a well-organized forward line. The Dockers appeared jaded after two games on the road where they lost narrowly to Carlton and Port Adelaide. The Eagles built on last week's comprehensive victory over the wounded Richmond Tigers to record consecutive victories for the first time since 2021. The addition of number 1 draft pick Harley Reid, combined with an injury-free and resurgent Elliot Yeo, has provided the Eagles with the midfield strength they have lacked for three years. Their clean delivery into the forward line enabled Jack Darling to feature more prominently; however, it is the re-emergence of full-forward Jake Waterman that is the big story of their forward line. The Dockers were due to have a poor game after playing intense pressure football for the first five weeks of the season. However, nobody expected such a sudden drop in form.

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Giants Step Over Eagles

Whitfield kicks (file photo/AFANA)

It wasn't a giant leap for the Greater Western Sydney Giants, but it was a small step towards their first Premiership flag. For the first time in their history, the Giants have started a season with three wins. Their opponents, the Eagles, have landed with a thud. After a boost in optimism, having drafted the number one draft pick, Harley Reid, the Eagles have been brought back to Earth. The Giants were expected to win this game, they did what they had to, without really breaking stride. For a large part of the match the Eagles impersonated traffic cones as the Giants weaved towards repeated goals. Both teams were evenly matched in terms of games played and player age, but that is where the comparisons end. The Giants are loaded with talent and the Eagles have a few good men who try hard but can't carry a playing list that had been neglected while the club relied on its aging stars.

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Cats Jump Into Top Four

Hawkins booted goal 700

The Geelong Cats moved into the top four after doing enough in blustery conditions to beat the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium. The Cats have had a heavy couple of weeks on the training track, as they build their strength for the end of the season. They looked lethargic for much of the game but won critical balls when challenged to keep a determined West Coast Eagles under control. The Eagles were strengthened by a number of stars returning from injury and will be pleased with their improved performance against a strong team.

The early signs for the Cats looked good as Tyson Stengle burnt off a pack of chasing Eagles to handball to Brad Close, who goaled without much pressure. However, the Eagles were a different team to the one that played the first half of the season. They contested the ball with a new found hardness and with their more-experienced players tasting leather, ball movement became purposeful. Reward came after eight minutes when Willie Rioli received a free kick and goaled. The Cats played Jeremy Cameron away from the goals to draw the Eagles intercept marker (catcher), Jeremy McGovern, out of the play. The Cats' full forward Tom Hawkins appreciated the space to move, but was closely shadowed by the Eagles' fullback Tom Barrass. With Cameron and Hawkins not scoring, the Cats placed greater reliance on their small forwards. Tyson Stengle slipped in for an early goal after an excellent kick from Cameron on the boundary. Then Sam Menegola sharked a loose ball to snap the Cats' third major.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round 22

Elliot Kicks Another Goal

Round 22 was full of stories. There was heartbreak in Adelaide as the Crows and Power likely blew their chance at playing finals, but there were also two of the season’s greatest games played between four of the league’s best teams. Both of those incredible games were physical, skillful contests that came down to one kick for goal that separated the winners from the losers. Brisbane’s last gasp win over Geelong in front of a rampant Lions home crowd came courtesy of a potential “Mark of the Year” by Lincoln McCarthy who goaled for a one point win, while it was Richmond’s favorite rascal in Jack Riewoldt who snapped truly to give his Richmond team a meritorious win against a gallant West Coast Eagles on Sunday at the MCG. All four teams will no doubt play a big part in September.

Other big winners in a stunning round of footy were the Western Bulldogs who followed up 21 consecutive goals the previous week against Essendon with a dozen in a row against a disappointing Greater Western Sydney who let their home fans down.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round 18

A Speccy for Sicily

The curse of the number one position on the AFANA AFL Power Poll has claimed another victim, with Geelong going down to Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday afternoon. This leaves the Brisbane Lions as the hottest team in footy after their narrow victory over the Kangaroos, giving the Lions five wins in a row and top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll for the first time.

The Eagles move up one spot after a tight win against the Demons at Traeger Park in Alice Springs while Collingwood drop for the second week in a row after they were no match for a sensational Greater Western Sydney outfit, despite missing a handful of their best players.

Essendon continue to build with a meritorious road win against an ice cold Adelaide Crows, while Richmond also bolstered its top four hopes with a comfortable win at the MCG against Port Adelaide. 

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Pies Pip Eagles By One Point

Pendlebury Evades Masten

In a pulsating Grand Final replay at the home of the reigning Premiers, the undermanned Collingwood Magpies beat the West Coast Eagles by a solitary point. It was a tough win that steadies the Pies' hope of a top two finish. Spectators were treated to an enthralling exhibition of tough competitive football between two of the league's leading teams, where neither side was prepared to surrender.

The first quarter opened with classic attacking football from both sides. A West Coast goal within the first minute had its genesis at the opening bounced down, where Nic Naitanui tapped to Andrew Gaff who kicked to Luke Shuey, who kicked to Jack Darling, who took a strong mark (caught the ball) and kicked accurately from a set shot.

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Eagles Swoop On Bombers

Jarrod Cameron Marks

On a dry, calm night which was perfect for football, the West Coast Eagles comfortably defeated the Essendon Bombers to put a serious dent in the Bombers’ hopes of making the finals. The Eagles dominated the game after quarter time and kept the ball in their forward half for the majority of the match. The win pushed the Eagles into the top four of the league ladder, but goal front inaccuracy cost them a golden opportunity to build on their percentage (calculated by points a team scores compared to points they concede).

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Accurate Eagles Deny Demons

Ryan Takes a Screamer.

In an open fast-moving game, the West Coast Eagles survived a spirited challenge from the Melbourne Demons to win by sixteen points. The hard running Demons challenged the reigning premiers throughout the match by outpacing the Eagles in the center corridor. However, when their legs tired in the last quarter, the Demons resorted to kicking long into attack; which suited the intercept marking of Shannon Hurn and Jeremy McGovern - and the Demons were gone.

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