The Eagles got the points at home to Brisbane and restored their spot in the top eight, triumphing by 68 points.
In a game that never reached any great heights, the Eagles put a testing week behind them with a number of important individual efforts.
Josh Kennedy kept his hopes of a third Coleman alive with six goals, to take his tally to 49 for the season, while Dom Sheed played one of his most assured games through the midfield.
The visitors, undermanned with the suspension of Dayne Zorko, and the management of several of their best young talent, took it up to the home side in the opening quarter before fading out of the contest.
West Coast did little to satisfy the questions posed of them following the Magpie debacle, but ground out the victory as they would have been expected to do.
There was expectation of a fierce response from a West Coast side that was ruthlessly badgered throughout the week, but the game started tamely.
The Lions opened the scoring inside two minutes with Ben Keays running into an open goal, before Jack Darling responded for West Coast a minute later. Darling started as the main focal point for West Coast, registering the first three shots on goal for the Eagles. Unforunately, his shots got progressively worse, as he followed up the opening goal with a minor score, before his third shot failed to register at all.
Darling eventually got his second, but the Lions were able to keep up as Josh Schache kicked truly from directly in front. Jeremy McGovern, who started forward with Drew Petrie in the ruck and Eric Mackenzie and Tom Barrass marshalling the backline, hit the scoreboard before Josh Kennedy also opened his account.
The Lions though were in the contest, and got just reward shortly before quarter time with debutant Sam Skinner kicking his first ever AFL goal to reduce the Eagles lead at quarter time to just five points.
The resistance from the young Lions fell through after quarter time as the Eagles started to take control. An early chance from Josh Schache after a turnover in defence was wasted and West Coast never looked back.
Mark LeCras was quiet early after being the question of many list management decisions during the week, but brought the game and the crowd to life with a piece of magic three minutes into the second term. Reading the tap from a stoppage, LeCras kicked a wonder goal from a right foot checkside from the wrong pocket as he was running towards the boundary line. The veteran proved he still had tricks up his sleeve with that goal one of two he would manage for the quarter.
Josh Kennedy, Dom Sheed and Sam Mitchell all goaled, the latter courtesy of a 50m penalty awarded after a courageous mark under a high ball. Midway through the quarter, the Eagles had blown the lead out to 28 points as they controlled much of the play and the forward possession.
The Eagles finished the term with a 19-5 inside 50 advantage but the game slowly descended into a scrap with neither side able to score a major from the midway part of the term.
After the main break, highlights became few and far between.
A 27 minute goal drought for both teams was finally ended when Josh Kennedy slotted his third of the afternoon, before Brisbane debutant Sam Skinner kicked the Lions first goal in nearly two quarters of football.
Luke Partington briefly brought a relaxed home crowd to life when he sidestepped past a couple of Lions to snap his first goal in his first game. Partington had been the subject of much fan attention, with his first venture onto an AFL field met with loud applause from the Eagles members stationed behind the interchange bench, and his first possession met with even louder cheers.
The Eagles advanced their lead by six points to 41 at three-quarter time, before ramming home a further five goals to one in the last term for a boost in percentage. Kennedy kicked three in the final quarter to take his tally to six, while Andrew Gaff collected 30 possessions in his 150th game.
Luke Shuey was prolific with 27 disposals, despite spending a chunk of the game from late in the first quarter to midway through the second in the changerooms attending to an injured ankle. Jack Redden also continued his recent good form with 27 disposals. Redden was afforded more time in the midfield with Priddis sidelined and Mitchell spending much of the game across half-forward. Redden enjoyed playing the primary inside midfielder role and could prove a boon for future seasons.
Mitchell for his part still managed 27 possessions, after starting the game 11 first quarter touches. Tom Barrass was resolute in defence with the Lions choosing to bomb long regularly and Jack Darling was strong support for Kennedy with 17 touches and nine marks to go with his opening quarter brace.
For the Lions, Dayne Beams picked up a career high 41 disposals, and Daniel Rich had 32 in his homecoming. The Lions though were out of their depth across most lines on the field but broke down particularly up forward. Josh Schache tried hard to present a target but no other forward had much of an impact as the Eagles held them to their lowest score between the two clubs.
Whilst the Eagles didn’t dispel growing doubts about their premiership credentials, they got the four points and four more percentage points to keep them on target for a finals place. The Eagles will have to find something more to beat the Saints next week, in what is looming as one of the crunch games of the season.
Match Details Sunday 30 July 2017
West Coast 4.1 9.4 12.7 17.11 (113)
Brisbane 3.2 3.5 5.8 6.9 (45)
Subiaco Oval Attendance: 32,652
Goals: WC Kennedy 6, Darling, Sheed, LeCras 2, McGovern, Duggan, Mitchell, Partington, Yeo.
BRI Skinner 2, Schache, Bastinac, Keays, Rockliff.
EAGLE EYE VOTES
Round 19 Season Leaderboard
5 Dom Sheed 31 Luke Shuey
4 Josh Kennedy 27 Elliot Yeo
3 Jack Redden 22 Andrew Gaff
2 Luke Shuey 21 Sam Mitchell
1 Drew Petrie 21 Josh Kennedy
ROUND 20 FORECAST
After a comfortable win over Brisbane, the Eagles attention turns towards St.Kilda in one of the crunch games of the season. The Eagles don’t have any concerns from the weekend, and will have the option of bringing back recent retiree Matthew Priddis and ruckman Nathan Vardy back into the line-up, after both missed a week with quad and glute soreness, respectively.
However, both players could face a tough battle making it back in. Jack Redden has strung together a number of solid games, and enjoyed more time playing as the inside midfielder, with Priddis absent and Sam Mitchell spending more time across half-forward. Debutant Luke Partington was solid and deserves a second game after he collected 16 disposals and kicked a goal.
The Eagles could also take a leaf out of the Bombers playbook, after they left veteran midfielder Jobe Watson out of their clash with the Saints a few weeks ago. St.Klida enjoy the fast pace of Etihad Stadium and Priddis could be exposed by the pacy Saints midfield. Watson enjoyed the break to be one of the best for Essendon the following week, and the Bombers were able to match the Saints as they romped to a ten goal win.
Nathan Vardy should return, provided he has fully recovered, and will join Drew Petrie in the ruck, who battled manfully against Stefan Martin. Vardy’s inclusion will most likely see a reshuffle of the Eagles tall, with McGovern to return to the backline, and either one of Eric Mackenzie or Will Schofield to lose their place. Schofield copped a heavy hit to the head late in the game against Brisbane and could be rested if there have been any ill-effects with concussion in the days following.
How the Saints line up could dictate the defensive make up of West Coast. The Saints have often played three talls up forward with a combination of Nick Riewoldt, Josh Bruce, Tim Membrey and Paddy McCartin. McCartin has been ruled out for the remainder of the year, but the other three could all play and force an Eagles m
At East Perth, Chris Masten picked up 38 disposals to lead all-comers as the Royals held on for a four point win over Claremont. Masten’s pace could be a consideration for Docklands, although he only had one tackle which continues to be a weakness in his game. Sharrod Wellingham had 22 playing across all lines, while Tom Cole picked up 17 after his demotion from the senior side. Josh Hill had 18 disposals and five tackles and could come in as a replacement for youngster Malcolm Karpany who had little impact on the game with just 8 disposals and remaining goalless. Kurt Mutimer was the emergency held over for the game, and could also be brought into the side after 21 possessions the week before.
IN: Nathan Vardy, Kurt Mutimer
OUT: Will Schofield, Malcolm Karpany