West Coast kept their finals hopes alive and boosted their percentage with a 60-point win over Collingwood at Patersons Stadium this afternoon.
The Eagles’ hopes of playing in September appeared gone a month ago, but their 19.12 (126) to 10.6 (66) win over the Pies saw them move to within one win of eighth-placed Essendon, who they play next Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
The only major concern out of the match was what appeared to be a serious shoulder or collarbone injury to skilful defender Xavier Ellis.
Matt Priddis (42 disposals, one goal) was a clearance machine, while Scott Lycett and Jack Darling both booted four goals for the victors.
Scott Pendlebury (31 touches) copped a tag from Mark Hutchings (31 possessions) but battled through it, while Dayne Beams (35 disposals, one goal) and Steele Sidebottom (33 touches, one goal) were also solid contributors.
The Eagles suffered a pre-game blow when they lost star forward Mark LeCras (calf).
Top draftee Dom Sheed replaced him and started as the substitute as West Coast went with three ruckmen.
Retiring champion Dean Cox started his return to the side on the bench, while Lycett started up forward.
And the 21-year-old South Australian had an immediate impact inside 50m as he took a chest mark and converted the goal to open the scoring.
The Pies were struggling to get their hands on the ball as the Eagles dominated clearances and possession, continually pumping the ball into their forward arc to give their dangerous big men a chance as the home side booted four of the first five majors to take a handy lead just 17 minutes in.
But Sam Dwyer kicked a clever goal as Ellis suffered what appeared to be a serious injury after courageously going back with the flight in a marking contest.
But West Coast received two free kicks inside forward 50m in the final 30 seconds of the quarter and Luke Shuey and Josh Kennedy both converted as they made it a decisive 28-point margin at the first break.
Sheed got his chance earlier than first thought, with Ellis subbed out during the break, but Collingwood got the start they wanted when the Eagles defenders overcommitted in a marking contest, allowing Tim Broomhead to run into an open goal.
The Pies were right back in the contest, evening up the clearances and winning a lot more of the hard ball, but West Coast were able to answer each time they broke through for a goal to the halfway mark of the term.
Magpies skipper Pendlebury, Beams and Sidebottom then started to dominate as the visitors upped the pressure, adding three of the last four goals of the quarter.
Sidebottom’s dribbling effort after going on a searching run through the middle of the ground with just 30 seconds on the clock provided a team-lifter for Collingwood and reduced the margin to under three goals going into the long break.
Adding to West Coast’s woes, defender Mitch Brown was off the ground having treatment on his left leg.
Any momentum the Magpies had going into the third quarter was quickly sapped when Lycett booted two quick goals in the opening minutes of the term.
Sam Dwyer was handed the red vest with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, as Clinton Young was injected into the game, while Brown played on with his left calf heavily strapped.
The Eagles were moving the ball freely through the middle of the ground and hitting up targets inside 50m with ease.
They added another four unanswered majors to extend the advantage beyond 50 points, before Ben Kennedy added his second to break the drought late in the term.
The biggest celebration was saved for when a left foot snap from Cox went through the big sticks.
The big man was mobbed by his teammates in the aftermath.
Jamie Elliott got the Pies off to a good start by snapping a goal within a minute.
But it was the Darling show from there, as athletic forward shook off Alan Toovey to boot three consecutive goals.
A pitch invader briefly interrupted proceedings, but there was little resistance from the Magpies as the Eagles continued to charge right to the final siren to record their first win at home since their last-gasp victory over Gold Coast in round 13.
| GOALS - WEST COAST: Lycett, Darling 4; Kennedy 3; Naitanui 2; Brown, Shuey, Cripps, Hill, Cox, Priddis. |
COLLINGWOOD: Kennedy 2; Dwyer, Broomhead, White, Reid, Beams, Sidebottom, Elliott, Cloke