Perth used a nine-goal last quarter to come from 33 points back and beat East Perth in an error-riddled thriller at Medibank Stadium today.
East Perth appeared to have the game in their keeping midway through the last term as they defended a lead that was still a comfortable 24 points.
But Perth found the energy for one last surge and kicked seven consecutive goals from that point to secure victory by 17 points.
The Royals had their chances with the most glaring coming when a deliberate out of bounds was paid against a Perth defender late in the term, with the Demons up by just five points, only for debutant Joe Boys to drop the return mark inside the forward 50 zone.
The ball was swept to the other end where Leon Davis kicked his fourth goal before Simon Donovan sealed the result with his own fourth.
After a first half in which both teams made numerous forced and unforced skill and decision-making errors, Perth pegged their way back into the game in the third term despite the Royals dominating general play.
The contest degenerated into a farcical display of mistakes, fumbles and turnovers for long periods before Perth's cream rose late in the match with Ross Young and Davis becoming prominent contributors.
The visitors had not scored a goal for 40 minutes across the second and third quarters but then nailed two in 20 seconds when Davis was given a free kick in the goal square and then Young ran the ball from the following bouncedown and converted a long shot.
Perth pushed all 18 players into the defensive zone during the last part of the second quarter but the tactic merely played into East Perth hands.
The Royals claimed eight marks inside 50 in the second term and converted seven of them into goals to hold a handy 19-point lead at the main break.
Fremantle midfielder Nick Lower was a late addition for the Demons, forcing Ben Noakes into the reserves team.
But the Docker's battle to overcome the lingering effects of concussion were tested when his AFL teammate but WAFL opponent Zac Clarke dumped him heavily on his head during a vigorous tackle.
He finished with a game-high 34 disposals, including 14 in the last quarter when he was instrumental in Perth playing their best football.
East Perth captain Michael Swan withdrew before the match following a family bereavement.
|GOALS - PERTH: Donovan, Davis 4; Tunbridge, Young, Leeson 2; Bevan, Lower, Stack, McInnes, Florio. EAST PERTH: Prior 4; Seal, Sweet, Brookes, Macaulay 2; Stirling, Payne, Moss, Johnson, Clarke.|
BEST - PERTH: Lower, Al Smith, Young, Jacobs, Davis, Bevan.
EAST PERTH: Moss, Kommer, Payne, Wulff, Prior, Clarke.
UMPIRES: S McPhee, D O'Neill, J Orr.
REPORTS: De Jongh (P) for tripping Clarke.
CROWD: 1200 (approx) at Medibank Stadium.
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