West Coast midfielder Sharrod Wellingham suffered a knee injury as East Perth ground out a 21-point win in atrocious conditions at Medibank Stadium this afternoon.
The out-of-form Eagle, who has been dropped three times from AFL level this season, limped off early in the third quarter following a collision on the far wing with some assistance from trainers.
He returned to the interchange bench with heavy strapping around his right knee, but played no further part in the game.
Versatile West Coast tall Callum Sinclair defied the ground's boggy, sodden conditions to spearhead the Royals 10th successive win, with the hosts triumphing 5.9 (39) to 2.6 (18) over West Perth.
The victory achieved on ground covered with mud and standing water strengthened East Perth's stranglehold on top spot and snuffed out any mathematical finals hopes for the Falcons.
The result left West Perth four wins outside of the top four with five rounds remaining and no hope of defending last year's premiership in September.
The visitors managed just three meagre behinds from the three-minute mark of the first term to almost six minutes into the final quarter.
They could kick only two goals for the entire match as they battled to get the ball inside their forward 50 to the advantage of a starved forward line.
It made for another embarrassing scoreboard return just four days after the 2013 premiers booted just one goal against Williamstown in the Foxtel Cup grand final at Simonds Stadium.
Steven Payne revelled in the trying conditions through the midfield, combining with Brendan Lee for East Perth to win plenty of hard ball through the midfield.
The pair was instrumental in the second and third quarters as the hosts battled their way to a match winning lead in the heavy conditions.
Young Eagles defender Blayne Wilson also played a steadying role down back, taking several strong contested marks particularly in the second quarter to complement the clean skills of teammate Jamie Bennell.
Sinclair defied the miserable conditions to make his mark on the contest early.
The recently re-signed Eagle kicked East Perth's first goal of the match - a superb effort on the run from 50m.
He finished the game with 23 disposals and 32 hit-outs.
Sinclair's influence in the opening term reflected the Royals dominance in inside-50 entries, but they were unable to get the scoreboard reward in leading by just nine points at quarter time.
The buffer would have been even less if not for a late challenge on Craig Wulff in a marking contest that led to a 50m penalty and a goal from point-blank range.
The second term was an ugly arm wrestle as the mud started to take a physical toll on the players.
Fringe Eagle Fraser McIness kicked the only major of the quarter and could have even missed that after choosing to kick from 35m out rather than running into an open goal.
Josh Smith's conversion from a contested mark with six minutes to go in the third quarter stretched the lead out to 23 points and effectively ended the contest.
Rohan Kerr, Jordan Jones and Aaron Black were West Perth's best.
|GOALS – EAST PERTH: Sinclair, McInnes, Smith, Johnson, Cripps. WEST PERTH: Kerr, Bartholomew.|
BEST – EAST PERTH: Sinclair, Payne, Lee, Wulff, Wilson, Blee. WEST PERTH: Kerr, J Jones, Black, Adams, Tedesco, Nelson.