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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 Ambush Demons

Williams marks (Dave Woodley/AFANA)

The West Coast Eagles launched a surprise attack on the Melbourne Demons to win convincingly by thirty-five points. The Demons were overwhelmed by the Eagles' attack on the ball and the pressure applied in the midfield. The Demons' defense has been the best in the league, but with linchpin defender Jake Lever injured early in the first quarter, the visitors were unable to withstand the repeated entries of the Eagles.

Teams that have defeated Melbourne recently have concentrated on nullifying the influence of Lever, Max Gawn, and Christian Petracca. With Lever out of the equation the Eagles physically targeted Gawn but he was equal to the challenge. He dominated the hitouts and won six clearances, but the physical buffeting he received in packs reduced his marks (catches) tally to just three. When the ball hit the ground the Eagles' Tim Kelly, Harley Reid, Liam Duggan and Reuben Ginbey swooped to initiate Eagle attacks. Clayton Oliver (nine clearances) and Christian Salem were good for the Demons but were outpointed by the combined Eagles midfield who won more contested possessions, particularly in the first half. Jake Waterman and Jack Darling were the Eagles' main targets up forward with Waterman taking thirteen marks and booting five goals. Darling only took four marks but with thirteen tackles, he kept the Melbourne defenders under constant pressure.

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Bombers Survive Late Eagle Challenge

Kyle Langford (file photo/AFANA)

The Essendon Bombers survived a late challenge by a determined West Coast Eagles to win by one goal in a thriller at Optus Stadium. The Bombers had more of the play for three quarters but couldn't finish scoring opportunities off the strong work of their midfield. Whereas the Eagles launched less attacks but were more efficient in attack. The Bombers used handball to break out of packs but the Eagles' players were more inclined to "roll the dice" and take on the tackler to get out of tight situations. Veteran ruckman Todd Goldstein, was dominant in for Essendon and for three quarters the Bombers won more clearances through his combination with Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett at ground level. Goldstein tired in the last stanza and an improved second half by Tim Kelly of the Eagles in the packs brought the hosts back into the game.

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Untidy Tigers Defeat Eagles

Rioli brilliance (file photo)

The Richmond Tigers defeated the West Coast Eagles to move to within two points of the top eight. The Tigers had moments of individual brilliance, punctuated by long spells of indifferent form as they ground out a victory against the spirited West Coast. The Eagles have been enlivened by the return of some of their best players but ultimately fell short of what was required to overcome the more talented Tigers. The struggling Eagles have now won just three of the past forty-four matches and this year sit at the bottom of the ladder, with just one win, way back in the second round against the GWS Giants. The Tigers have won three of their past four games and are within striking distance of the top eight, but would need to show much more than they did against the Eagles to get ahead of the log jam in front of them.

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Running Dogs Attack Eagles

Bulldogs cheer squad (file photo)

The Western Bulldogs produced an irresistible second half of football to record their highest score and biggest winning margin against the West Coast Eagles. The win allowed the Dogs to sneak back into the top eight after a slow start to the season. Their 6 wins and 5 losses put them within striking distance of the teams above them and sets them up for the second half of the season. West Coast have one win from eleven games, which equals their worst start to a season. The loss to the Bulldogs was also their seventh consecutive loss, all of which had a deficit of 50 points or more. The Bulldogs ruckman Tim English played a magnificent game, dominating the ruck and picking up 25 possessions in general play. It is rumored he will decline offers to return to Western Australia, and in the near future, will sign a new contract to stay with the Dogs.

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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 21

The Eagles are Flying

Our top three on the AFANA AFL Power Poll all came through with wins this week, with Brisbane crushing the Suns, the Eagles defeating the Crows and Richmond too strong in the wet for the improving Carlton.

The Giants took a big hit on Friday night footy, registering a rare loss in Canberra while playing in even rarer conditions – snow! Yes, for the first time in a home and away AFL contest, snow fell at Manuka Oval in Canberra as Hawthorn gave the Giants a football lesson. Geelong took care of the Kangaroos in similar fashion, with Rhyce Shaw’s men managing just a single goal for the entire match.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round 16

Nic Nat Leads the Pack

It has taken until the completion of round sixteen, but the reigning premiers are back at the top of the AFANA AFL Power Poll after thumping cross-town rivals Fremantle by 91 points on Saturday. The Eagles win coincided with Geelong going down to an improved Western Bulldogs and Collingwood being run over in the last quarter by Hawthorn on Friday night, signaling a change in not only the AFANA Power Poll but betting markets all over the country.

The Brisbane Lions announced to the rest of the competition that they are not only big improvers but a genuine threat to the top four with an away win full of merit against the fancied Greater Western Sydney Giants. Port Adelaide continued it's up and down season by crushing the favored Adelaide Crows in the "Showdown" at Adelaide Oval and the resurgent Kangaroos had another comfortable win, this time over a faltering Saint Kilda.

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Darling and Ryan Lead Eagles Wet Win

Jack Darling Kicked Five

The West Coast Eagles traveled to Melbourne today, looking to take an MCG scalp ahead of their run home towards the finals. The Eagles came in heavy favorites on a gloomy and damp Saturday afternoon. They led by 20 points at half time and survived a comeback by Hawthorn to hit the lead again in the final minute and claim the four premiership points.

Inside the first minute the Eagles won the center clearance and goaled through Darling. Nic Naitanui was back for the Eagles and was leaping high early to give his team mates the first use of the ball.  He looked strong and in control early, his return could have been dubbed a full success already had his early snap for goal been on target.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Seven

Collingwood Stays on Top

The big three in Collingwood, Geelong and Greater Western Sydney all had wins over the weekend to strengthen their positions on the AFANA AFL Power Poll and put themselves in great shape as the season moves into round eight. The Magpies dominated Port Adelaide early in the Friday night game to cruise to victory, while Geelong was never threatened by a disappointing Essendon at the MCG on Sunday.

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