Lynch Lifts Eagles
West Coast returned to the top of the ladder with a comprehensive 62 point win over Brisbane, led by a career high 8 goals from Quinten Lynch.
The Eagles headed to the GABBA as clear favourites, with the Lions sitting in 12th position, and just 7 wins for the year. The Lions were missing a host of stars, including Jonathan Brown, Nigel Lappin, Chris Johnson, Chris Scott and Justin Leppitsch, as well as Jason Akermanis who had walked away from the club a few weeks earlier.
West Coast made two forced changes from the previous week’s win against the Kangaroos. Daniel Chick was serving his one game suspension, while Ashley Hansen was again set for a stint on the sidelines after picking up a knee injury. Brett Jones and Drew Banfield were both recalled.
The game started as a scrappy affair, with both sides managing just a goal apiece in the opening term. The Lions continued to hold on through the second quarter, but when Clark Keating’s kick across goal only got as far as Ben Cousins, the floodgates opened. Cousins found Seaby who booted the Eagle’s second of the day, and they would finish with six more when the half was brought to a close.
Lynch booted four in the 2nd quarter rush, as he proved to be too much for Mal Michael. Lynch was finishing off the work in the midfield, which surprisingly wasn’t being led by either Daniel Kerr or Chris Judd. Ben Cousins (19 possessions in the first half) and Chad Fletcher (14) were the main architects, while David Wirrpanda was mopping up everything down back.
The Eagles dominance continued through the second half, keeping the Lions to just two goals after half time. Ben Cousins slowed up, but had plenty of support. Michael Braun finished as the leading possession getter for West Coast with 35, Wirrpanda had 31 and Dean Cox enjoyed a second start from his broken collarbone with 29 disposals.
Initially starting in the forward pocket, Cox spent more time in the ruck and proved to be too mobile for Clark Keating and youngster Cameron Wood. Cox also finished with 23 hit-outs, allowing the Eagles to win the clearances.
Quinten Lynch continued to wield an influence, now opposed to Jared Brennan, kicking another four goals in the half to record his highest tally. Andrew Embley chimed in with three of his own, as the Eagles enjoyed a lopsided 62-39 inside-50 count.
Despite the easy win, not all of the Eagles had it their own way. Judd was unable to match his previous GABBA displays, managing just 10 possessions, while Kerr had an even dirtier day dealing with a close tag from Troy Selwood.
Kerr had just two kicks and two handballs for the game (all before half time) and had a horror patch during the 2nd quarter where he gave away a free kick, then a 50m penalty resulting in a Brisbane goal, before giving away another free kick in front of goal before the ball was returned to the centre, which Luke Power subsequently missed.
Despite the lack of output from a couple of star midfielders, the Eagles had plenty of players on-board to claim victory against a Lions outfit who were now a shadow of the side who dominated the first half of the decade.
The Eagles win saw them finish Round 20 a game clear on top of the ladder, after the Crows lost their third game in four weeks. A month ago Adelaide were two games ahead of the competition, but after a 7 point loss to the Bulldogs, the Crows dropped to 2nd spot.
Across the city, the Dockers made it seven wins in a row to lift themselves into the top four for the first time in 2006, setting up an enticing Derby the following week.
Match Details Sunday 20 August 2006
West Coast 1.5 8.8 11.15 16.18 (114)
Brisbane 1.2 5.6 6.8 7.10 (52)
GABBA Attendance: 23,764
Best: WC Lynch, Cousins, Wirrpanda, Fletcher, Cox, Braun, Butler, Waters
BRI Black, Voss, T Selwood, Stiller, Adcock, Drummond
Goals: WC Lynch 8, Embley 3, Seaby 2, A Selwood, R Jones, Stenglein.
BRI Bradshaw 3, Black 2, Drummond, T Selwood.
Brownlow: 3. Q Lynch (WC)
2. M Braun (WC)
1. M Voss (BRI)