Electric Eagles are best in the west

West Coast orchestrated an impressive 156-point turnaround in just one week.

After being demolished by 97 points by Geelong in Round 6, coach Adam Simpson labelled his team “weak” and the performance “embarrassing”.

With a fistful of stars sidelined through injury, the Eagles regrouped and beat Fremantle by 59 points a week later to continue their dominance in the hometown rivalry at Optus Stadium.

After a first-half shootout that saw 20 goals kicked, the Eagles lifted their tempo to kick nine of 11 second-half goals to win 20.12 (132) to 11.7 (73).

They managing just five goals against the Cats and then kicked their biggest score of the season against the Dockers.

Key forward Josh Kennedy returned to the side and, after kicking two goals in the opening quarter, finished with three. Although one of Zac Langdon’s two goals looked to have come from the champion forward’s boot.

Jake Waterman and Jack Darling also kicked three apiece.

What would have please Simpson more would have been the intent his side showed for most of the game.


The Dockers had a massive opportunity to take advantage of the Eagles missing three of their key defenders.

Shannon Hurn and Jeremy McGovern were joined on the sidelines midweek by Tom Barrass thanks to a shoulder injury. Remember too that Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo and Liam Ryan are also trying to return to the side.

Fremantle’s Matt Taberner found himself on second-gamer Harry Edwards and made the most of his chances.

Taberner kicked three goals either side of quarter-time to help the Dockers open up an 11-point lead early in the second term.

Once again, it was David Mundy’s work in the midfield, with two clearances and seven possessions for the term, that saw the Dockers in front.

The chances started to dry up for Taberner though, due mainly to West Coast taking control of the game further up the ground.

Oscar Allen also took up a key position in defence, making life hard for the Dockers forwards.

Mundy’s efforts didn’t halt though, the veteran finishing with 29 possessions and Andrew Brayshaw 32.

Freo looked the goods early but the Eagles took flight in the third term. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images


By halftime though, West Coast had arrested the momentum and held a 13-point lead.

Andrew Gaff was again able to get his hands on the ball and had 21 possessions at the main break.

But several of his teammates, who didn’t see much of it against Geelong a week earlier, were clearly keen to make amends.

Against the Cats, Jack Redden had 20 possessions for the game, Tim Kelly had just 16, Dom Sheed 13 and Liam Duggan 10.

In the first half against the Dockers, that quartet had 58 touches between them – 23 of them contested. Kelly, Sheed and Duggan had already surpassed their statistics from the week before.

Kelly finished with a career-high 42 touches – 23 of them contested – as well as 14 clearances.

When Jamie Cripps kicked the first goal of the second half inside 20 seconds of the siren sounding to start it, the Eagles had made the most of that midfield work to kick six of seven goals to open up a 19-point lead.


Fremantle went into the game looking for its first run of four consecutive wins since round 15-19 of the 2015 season when they made it through to a preliminary final.

And with the Eagles missing at least seven of their starting line-up, the Dockers would have looked at this as a chance to end a 10-game losing run against West Coast.

But in the Eagles, Fremantle was playing a top-eight side from 2020 for the first time this season.

As tight as this season is, Fremantle dropped from sixth on the table at the start of the round, to ninth, having to host a red-hot Brisbane at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

They will have some sore bodies trying to get up for that game too. Both Ethan Hughes (subbed out of the game) and Heath Chapman injured shoulders against West Coast. And star Brayshaw will have a very sore ankle.

West Coast jumped from 10th on the ladder back in to eighth position on the back of the win.

The last time the Dockers beat the Eagles was in April 2015, before the two teams became joint residents at Optus Stadium.

EAGLES 4.2 11.4 17.8 20.12 (132)

DOCKERS 4.0 9.3 11.5 11.7 (73)

ELBOROUGH’S BEST Eagles: Kelly, Darling, Gaff, Redden, Sheed, Cripps. Dockers: Mundy, Brayshaw, Fyfe, Watson, Walters, Taberner.

GOALS Eagles: Kennedy 3, Waterman 3, Darling 3; Jones 2, Cripps 2, Brander 2, Langdon, 2; Gaff, Petruccelle, Vardy. Dockers: Taberner 3; Lobb 2; Colyer, Frederick, Serong, Mundy, Walters, Watson.

INJURIES Eagles: Brander (ankle). Dockers: Brayshaw (ankle), Chapman (shoulder), Hughes (shoulder), replaced by Duman.

UMPIRES Margetts, Dalgleish, Johanson.

VENUE Optus Stadium



3 Kelly (Eagles)

2 Darling (Eagles)

1 Gaff (Eagles)

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