Kennedy's yips but Eagles beat Dogs in AFL

Justin Chadwick

West Coast forward Josh Kennedy had a case of the goalkicking yips, but it didn't prove costly as the Eagles secured a scrappy eight-point win over the Western Bulldogs in Friday night's AFL clash at Domain Stadium.

The Eagles led by 24 points in the third quarter, and still held a 17-point advantage heading into the final break.

Kennedy had the chance to ice the game when he had three set shots within four minutes early in the last quarter.

But he missed every shot, leaving the door open for a Bulldogs comeback.

The visitors booted the next two goals to reduce the margin to seven points.

But it was as close as they could get, with the Eagles securing the 9.15 (69) to 8.13 (61) win despite kicking 1.9 in the second half.

Kennedy finished the match with 3.6, while Mark LeCras was also wayward with 0.3.

"I suppose in the last quarter when the Bulldogs threw caution to the wind, we could have iced it there with a couple of missed shots," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"But we knew the Bulldogs wouldn't go away. It's in their DNA.

"I was pretty proud of our players to punch out a good four quarters, albeit second half with our inaccuracy and inability to convert some good opportunities was disappointing."

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said his team's sloppy skills let them down.

"The Eagles hurt us on those rebound plays that came through us too easily," Beveridge said.

"Our layers of defence broke down and they got us out the back a few times."

Midfielders Sam Mitchell and Andrew Gaff combined for 68 touches, while Dom Sheed booted two goals from 23 disposals.

Defender Jeremy McGovern sent a huge scare through West Coast's camp when he rolled his ankle early in the third quarter while making a tackle.

But he was able to play out the match, taking some crucial marks in the second half.

The win was sweet revenge for West Coast, who were left shellshocked after last year's 47-point elimination-final loss to the Bulldogs in Perth.

West Coast improve their record to 6-2 heading into next week's clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

The Bulldogs are 5-3 in their premiership defence ahead of a crunch clash at Geelong next Friday night.

Bulldogs forward Jack Redpath, making his first AFL appearance since undergoing a knee reconstruction last year, booted the first goal of the match after taking a strong mark above Tom Barrass.

But the Eagles took control of the term from that point, kicking four unanswered goals to take a 16-point lead into quarter-time.

West Coast threatened to open up a sizeable lead in the second quarter, but their kicking on goal let them down at crucial times.

And when Redpath booted two goals within a few minutes to close the gap to 11 points, the 38,934-strong crowd started getting nervous.

The third term was an intense arm wrestle as both sides struggled to break through the congestion.

Kennedy's wobbles in the last quarter threatened to derail West Coast's victory hopes.

But the Bulldogs' comeback was only brief - with West Coast holding firm in the last 10 minutes to secure victory.