Sharrod Wellingham and Mark LeCras celebrate a West Coast goal during the Eagles' mauling of Freo
A NEW-LOOK West Coast has produced a dazzling display to thump Fremantle by 84 points in Tuesday's NAB Challenge match at Arena Joondalup.Click here to watch the full match replay
It was a stunning performance by Adam Simpson's side with the Eagles' midfield - led by Xavier Ellis, Matt Priddis, Chris Masten, and Sharrod Wellingham - running riot in the 2.20.10 (148) to 0.10.4 (64) victory.
Former Hawk Ellis produced a wonderful debut for his new club. Ellis, Wellingham impress their new coach
Following an injury-prone 2013 with Hawthorn, the classy left-footer gathered 21 disposals playing loose across half-back in the opening half before being subbed early the third term.
Masten kicked three goals in the first quarter. Jamie Cripps also bagged three for the game and so did Wellingham, who appears to have shaken off the bone-stress injury that had interrupted his pre-season.
Simpson was pleased with his team's performance but was pragmatic.
"We're in a different phase to Fremantle at the moment," Simpson said.
"We needed to field a stronger team because we needed to get the boys playing together. We were really pleased with our intent today. That was the main thing."
The Dockers looked underdone and lethargic in the opening term with their veteran stars Matthew Pavlich and Luke McPharlin (both substitutes) looking on from the bench.
Pavlich entered after half-time and kicked a couple of goals but the damage was already done.
The 84-point margin almost flattered Fremantle after the Eagles switched off in the last quarter.
"West Coast are very good," Fremantle assistant Peter Sumich said.
"People underestimate they were flag favourites last year and had injuries. Don't take anything from them, they were outstanding.
"Last year we were in a similar position against Carlton and we moved on pretty quickly."
Harsh to single out new players, says Sumich
Shannon Hurn and Mitch Brown thumped super goals in the opening five minutes of the match which set-up an eight-goal-to-two quarter for the Eagles and a 46-point lead at the first change. The Eagles had 25 inside 50s to five in the first term and 30 more possessions in a dominant display.
They kicked five goals to two in the second term for a 66-point lead at half-time before a seven goal third term saw the lead blow out to a massive 104 points at the last change.
The Eagles' slick ball-movement, decision-making and execution were a feature. Simpson predicted in the lead-up that it could get "messy" as they tried to implement the new game style for the first time, but it was nothing but plain sailing all afternoon.
"We've been working on that a lot," Simpson said.
"It's mainly the work rate and our hunt for the footy early on and the rest sort of flowed from there. Once again it's the NAB Challenge and two teams in two different phases of training. I'm not getting carried away."
The Dockers looked unusually sluggish. Their trademark defensive pressure was absent and although their big bodies of Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Michael Barlow and Nat Fyfe dominated the centre clearances 23-11, they were unable to get clean possessions and had a number of uncharacteristic turnovers. WHAT WE LEARNEDFremantle:
The Dockers are well behind in their preparation compared to other teams due to a later finish last year. The typical Dockers defensive pressure was completely absent as the players looked simply to get time in the legs. Dockers fans should not read too much into this performance. Lachie Neale looks to have taken another step forward as an AFL player. The sub in the 2013 Grand Final had 24 touches and kicked a goal in an impressive performance. West Coast:
The Eagles trialed their new game style and it looked very sharp, albeit, against an opponent which is well behind in its preparation. There was a clear directive for the midfielders and half-backs to lower their eyes and hit up short targets by foot. They also moved the ball quickly, with an emphasis on taking the first option that presented to avoid allowing Fremantle to set up its defensive structure. Chris Masten pushed forward to great effect in the first term while Jack Darling ran through the middle. Mitch Brown swung both forward and back depending on match-ups. Shannon Hurn showed how valuable his kicking and decision-making is coming out of defence. NEW FACESFremantle:
The new recruits for Fremantle had very quiet afternoons. Scott Gumbleton played almost exclusively up-forward. He kicked two goals but had just six possessions for the match. Colin Sylvia was barely sighted throughout the afternoon. The free agency recruit had just five possessions for the match. West Coast:
If he stays fit Xavier Ellis could be one of the recruits of the season. He started the afternoon loose across half-back and dominated proceedings until he was substituted. His ball use and decision-making stood out and he could be a major asset for the Eagles. Elliot Yeo was very impressive on his debut for his new club. The former Lion kicked a goal and had 15 possessions. Dom Sheed did not look out of place in his first match at senior level. He gathered 17 disposals and hit the post with a snap out of traffic.FREMANTLE
0.2.1 0.4.2 0.5.2 0.10.4 (64)
2.6.5 2.11.8 2.18.10 2.20.10 (148) SUPERGOALSFremantle:
Pavlich 2, Gumbleton 2, Walters, Duffy, Hannath, Barlow, Fyfe, NealeWest Coast:
Masten 3, Wellingham 3, Cripps 3, LeCras 2, Shuey 2, Hutchings, Sinclair, Darling, Newman, Kennedy, Yeo, HillBESTFremantle:
Fyfe, Mzungu, Mundy, Barlow, Sandilands, NealeWest Coast:
Wellingham, Masten, Ellis, Priddis, Hurn, Cripps, Hutchings INJURIESFremantle:
NilWest Coast: NilSUBSTITUTESFremantle:
Pavlich replaced Hannath at half-time; McPharin replaced Duffield at half-time.West Coast:
Sheppard replaced Selwood in the second quarter; McGinnity replaced Hurn
in the second quarter. Brown replaced Ellis in the third quarterReports:
Dalgleish, Farmer, MargettsOfficial crowd:
10,737 at Arena Joondalup