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.
The West Coast Eagles survived a spirited second-half challenge by the Gold Coast Suns, to position themselves for a move into the top eight. After two consecutive thrashings, the Eagles were expected to work back into form against the young Suns; and that is what they did in the first half. The Eagles started slowly, put the Suns to the sword in the second quarter; but then struggled as the Suns fought back in the second half.
Port Adelaide Power used speed and wet weather grunt to comprehensively thrash the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium. The Eagles fielded a team unsuited to the conditions. It was cold, wet and windy and a team loaded with three tall forwards and two ruckmen, would always struggle in the slippery conditions. The Power lacked the height of the Eagles but they made up for it with midfield muscle and quick ball movement.
In a game that lacked highlights but offered plenty of interest, the West Coast Eagles withstood a determined Fremantle Dockers to win by 13 points. The depleted Dockers threw everything they had at the reigning premiers, but in the end were defeated by their own inaccuracy in front of goal.
West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood Magpies (Optus Stadium)
STATE OF PLAY:
The Saturday clash between West Coast and Collingwood is a top four battle of two teams that have been hit hard by injury during the season but have come through in pretty good shape nonetheless.
The West Coast Eagles controlled the Western Bulldogs for most of the day to put in a workman-like display of winter weather football, to run our comfortable winners. The Dogs fielded a young team with the majority of players in their second or third season, and it showed, against the more experienced Eagles. Playing conditions were tricky with a strong wind blowing and some showers of rain in the second half. The game was unspectacular and dour as players dropped marks (catches), missed easy goals and kicked the ball out bounds without being touched (resulting in a free kick to the opposition) in their attempts to master the vagaries of the wind swirling around the field.
After another top notch round of footy, Richmond holds onto top spot on the AFANA Power Poll as a result of its 47 point win over the Adelaide Crows, damaging the Crows chances of returning to finals football in 2018. Collingwood had to fight hard to defeat a determined Essendon, while the Swans stumbled at home against a very impressive Geelong.
Port Adelaide kept in touch with the top two after a comfortable win over Saint Kilda, the Eagles returned to the winners list in the “battle of the decimated forward lines” as they held off the Giants in Perth, and the Hawks solidified their run at the finals with a second half blitz to defeat the Bulldogs.
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Optus Stadium, Perth
Optus Stadium became an over sized pressure cooker as the temperature rose to 87 degrees Fahrenheit and the Eagles used sizzling ball movement to overcome a wounded but resolute Fremantle Dockers. A record Perth crowd of 56,521 witnessed scintillating football with several dashes of spice, which forced umpires to extinguish spot fires, as tempers rose and passions boiled over.
On a perfect cool night for football, the West Coast Eagles and the Western Bulldogs showed how a dour and intense game can thrill a crowd. Numbers around the ball, slick hand passing and high pressure tackling was the order of the night. Despite the Bulldogs missing nine of their best players, they matched or bettered the Eagles in all aspects of the game with the exception of marks (catches) within the attacking fifty meter arc and crucially, on the scoreboard.