The West

West Coast forward Jack Darling says the Eagles take enormous confidence from having the tallest forward line in the league because they know they can bomb the ball inside 50 and still have an advantage.

The Eagles thrashed Melbourne by 93 points at the MCG yesterday, the contrast of the final score mirroring that of the height differences between the respective forward lines.

The Dees were without big men Mitch Clark (personal reasons), Chris Dawes (calf) and Jesse Hogan (back), while the Eagles rotated imposing quintet Darling, Josh Kennedy, Callum Sinclair, Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui through their forward line. Ten of West Coast's 18 goals came from key-position players and Darling said the team relished not having to deliver precision passes to set up goals.

"Just in case we can't get the perfect lace-out pass, certainly a kick to JK or Nic Nat or any other boy's advantage and hopefully they can get the job done and more often than not they do," he said.

"The last two weeks it has worked for us. Hopefully it works all year or someone is going to have to miss out. We're pretty agile and we do the defensive pressure which is probably the most important thing."

Darling continued his solid start to the season with three goals, while Kennedy booted four against a back line that was constantly embroiled in mismatches.

The Eagles will be confronted by another small defence on Saturday night against St Kilda.

Adam Simpson's side sits on top of the ladder after kicking 39 goals in their first two games.

Darling said the forwards were happy to be making the most of the opportunities and constantly communicated with each other to obtain the best structure close to goal.

"We do think about who has a good mismatch and who has kicked the last goal," Darling said. "We might put them deep again so the defender might get a bit nervous and give away a free kick. We share the load."

Still only 21, Darling is flourishing in the AFL system at an age when most key-forward options are still finding their feet.

The West Perth recruit has now played 70 matches and kicked 126 goals.

He said teams still put their best defenders on Kennedy and the resting ruckman and that made his life a lot easier.

"It's good for myself because I get the third or fourth tall," Darling said.

"That's good for me and hopefully I get a mismatch."

The West Australian

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