North Melbourne have reinforced their finals credentials by defeating West Coast by 38 points at Patersons Stadium tonight, their second win in WA this season.
The Kangaroos made the trip west hoping to increase their gap over the Eagles, who were sitting one spot below them on the ladder going into the round.
They managed to do that and more, taking complete control of the midfield and running out 12.10 (82) to 6.8 (44) winners.
Former St Kilda midfielder Nick Dal Santo was huge for the visitors, finishing with 34 disposals, while Ben Cunnington and Levi Greenwood were also important.
Matt Priddis (32 disposals) and defender Eric Mackenzie were among the few winners for the Eagles on a dark night for the home side.
After defeating Fremantle at the same venue five weeks ago, North Melbourne looked at home early against the Eagles and caught their opponents on the hop by kicking the first two goals of the game through Leigh Adams and Aaron Black.
The Eagles responded shortly after courtesy of a Mark LeCras major, but were being forced into too many bad decisions with the ball on the back of some excellent pressure from the Roos’ midfield.
By quarter-time the visitors had a narrow three-point lead.
Ben Cunnington extended the lead with a goal just two minutes into the second quarter and when Brent Harvey, who had been well held by Eagles tagger Scott Selwood, followed up with a goal of his own, the margin was out to 16 points.
It was a well-deserved lead but probably should have been a larger one, with plenty of missed opportunities in front of goal for the visitors who had eight scoring shots to the home side’s one for the term.
Matt Priddis gave the Eagles some hope with the first goal of the second half but the night belonged to North, who ran the game out in complete control.
|GOALS - NORTH MELBOURNE: Adams, Petrie, Black 2; Cunnington, Harvey, Swallow, Atley, Thomas, Anthony.|
WEST COAST: LeCras, Priddis 2; Naitanui, Cripps.