West Coast booked their place in the second week of the finals with a thumping 96-point win over North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium today.
The Eagles blew their opponents off the park in the first quarter and were never challenged, pulling away in the final term to win 24.18 (162) to 9.12 (66).
They will enter Saturday’s semifinal against Collingwood at the MCG full of confidence after producing one of their most dominant displays of the season.
But they are expected to be without vice-captain Beau Waters for the rest of the finals campaign after the tough nut hurt his right foot and was carried off the ground before half-time.
Key forward Quinten Lynch faces a nervous wait to learn his fate after arriving late to a marking contest and unnecessarily crashing into the back of Kangaroos defender Scott McMahon in the first quarter.
West Coast were brilliant early as the Kangaroos wilted in the Subiaco sun.
The Eagles slammed on seven goals to none in the first term to open up a 43-point point lead by quarter-time.
Jack Darling kicked three majors in the first quarter as he benefited from his teammates’ dominance in the middle of the ground.
Scott Selwood, Daniel Kerr and Matt Priddis were superb in close, while Andrew Embley and Andrew Gaff found plenty of space around the ground.
The Eagles’ quarter-time tally of 7.4 (46) was their biggest in a single quarter of finals football.
Three of North Melbourne’s first five scoring shots hit the post as they failed to make the most of their limited chances.
It took the Kangaroos nearly 19 minutes of the second quarter to kick their first goal of the game through Matt Campbell as they limped to a massive nine-goal deficit at the main break.
The visitors started the second half with more purpose and kicked two of the first three goals after the restart, but were never likely to get back into the contest.
Two quick goals to revitalised veteran Embley briefly snuffed out North Melbourne’s energy as the “Eagles” chant went up around the ground.
The Kangaroos went on to win the third quarter and the game spiced up a bit when Brent Harvey flattened Kerr off the ball just before three-quarter time.
Adam Selwood went to remonstrate with Harvey when the siren sounded moments later but the ensuing melee didn’t amount to anything serious.
Ruckman Dean Cox celebrated his 250th game with the first goal of the final quarter as West Coast cruised to victory.
Embley and Darling finished with four goals each, as did Josh Kennedy, who kicked three in the final term as the Eagles put an exclamation mark on the win.
Captain Andrew Swallow and Jack Ziebell worked hard for North Melbourne and Daniel Wells showed glimpses of brilliance. Campbell and Harvey kicked three goals each, but the Kangaroos lacked the class to go with their superior opponents from the outset.
Waters’ injury and a possible suspension for Lynch were the only downsides for the Eagles.
| GOALS – WEST COAST: Darling, Embley, Kennedy 4; Lynch 3; Masten, Naitanui, Shuey, Mackenzie, Cox, Hill, McGinnity, Hurn, Kerr. NORTH MELBOURNE: Campbell, Harvey 3; Hansen, Cunnington, Petrie.|
BEST – WEST COAST: Kerr, Darling, Glass, Cox, Priddis, S Selwood, Embley. NORTH MELBOURNE: Swallow, Ziebell, Harvey, Cunnington, Thompson.
INJURIES - WEST COAST: Waters (foot). NORTH MELBOURNE: Nil.
UMPIRES: C Donlon, S McBurney, S Jeffrey.
CROWD: 41,790 at Patersons Stadium.
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