WEST COAST has made it two wins on the trot, with a gripping 26-point victory against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday afternoon.
Maligned for their poor goal-kicking earlier in the season, the Eagles kicked truly when the pressure was on, winning 17.6 (108) to 12.10 (82).Five talking points: Brisbane Lions v West Coast Eagles
They kicked the final four goals of the game to inflate the margin of victory.
The scores were locked at 63 each at the final change, and after a topsy-turvy first 20 minutes of the fourth quarter, late goals to Bradd Dalziell, Matt Rosa and one on the run from Josh Hill sealed the deal.
The scoreline did not reflect the closeness of the contest, as the Lions fought hard all day, but Michael Voss' men have now slumped to a 2-5 record with a nightmare six-match stretch ahead.Click here to vote for the three best West Coast players from this game
They had far more of the ball (373-308 disposals) and matched the Eagles in the hard work areas of clearances (40-43), contested possessions (154 to both teams) and tackles (70-67).
But the Eagles were just more polished, with Josh Kennedy's four goals important in the final wash-up, along with Matt Priddis' 29 disposals and game-high 10 clearances.Eagles coach John Worsfold was relieved to win.
"It was a pretty full-on game. Neither side got up a big break on each other. Most goals were hard fought," he said.
Rain swept the Gabba two hours before the match started, but despite the slippery conditions, West Coast's big men were dominant.
Aside from Kennedy, Nic Naitanui, Dean Cox, Darren Glass and Eric Mackenzie were all strong.
Worsfold said they had considered making a late change to shorten the line-up.
"It was what we talked about pre-game. The conditions made it tight. We talked about the fact we have to play with intensity for the full 120 minutes because you don’t know when the break will come," he said.
Naitanui got through his first full game of the season, mixing time with his partner-in-crime Cox in the ruck and up forward.
Josh Kennedy celebrates one of his four crucial goals against the Lions. Picture: AFL Media
The big Fijian had 15 disposals, 29 hit-outs, two goals and a typically spectacular mark in the final quarter where he jumped over Daniel Merrett and took it on his chest.
His direct opponent Matthew Leuenberger was colossal for the losing team, working tirelessly around the ground and capping his game with a terrific dribbled goal in front of Cox.
Click here to vote for the three best Brisbane Lions players from this game
The win moves West Coast to 3-4 ahead of next Friday night's match against North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium.
Lions coach Michael Voss named returning Brownlow medallist Simon Black as a substitute, after he had been struggling with illness for three days.
It almost looked like a genius move when Black finished with 12 disposals and a goal in just over a quarter. Voss said to lose after being so competitive
for 90 per cent of the match was disappointing.
"Whenever you put effort in like that (and lose) it hurts, but that's what we do, that's why we turn up every single week, to put everything on the line," he said.
"You can only put yourself in a position to win the game, and we didn't.
"We started to get our play going. Team systems started to kick in and some of the effort on the ball and trying to take time and space away from the opposition (started to happen)."
Tom Rockliff (34), Pearce Hanley (31) and Brent Moloney were influential for the losers.
3.0 6.6 9.9 12.10 (82)
4.2 7.2 10.3 17.6 (108)
: Golby 2, Bewick 2, Brown 2, Redden, Zorko, McGrath, Leuenberger, Black, Lisle
Kennedy 4, Lecras 3, Sheppard 2, Naitanui 2, Hill 2, Shuey, Dalziell, Rosa, Darling
Hanley, Leuenberger, Rockliff, Moloney, Raines, Clarke
Priddis, MacKenzie, Selwood, Kennedy, Glass, Naitanui, Hurn
: Simon Black on for Ryan Lester in the third quarter
Bradd Dalziell on for Mitchell Brown in the fourth quarter
Bannister, Leppard and Schmitt