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Kennedy bags five as Eagles beat cross-town rivals

Alex Malcolm  March 6, 2014 11:58 PM

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Nic Naitanui gets the handball away during the Eagles' hit-out against Freo on Thursday night. Picture: Getty Images

JOSH Kennedy bagged five goals and Nic Naitanui made a successful return to competitive football in West Coast's 19-point win over Fremantle in a practice match at Patersons Stadium on Thursday night.
 
The Eagles made it three wins from as many starts in their first pre-season under new coach Adam Simpson, winning 13.8 (86) to 9.13 (67) in front of a healthy crowd.
 
Kennedy kicked just two of his five straight from set shots, benefiting from the relentless pressure the West Coast midfield and forwards put on Freo.
 
Naitanui, playing his first game since July due to a debilitating groin injury, started forward and spent time in the midfield, although did very little ruck work, after coming on as a sub late in the second quarter.

He made an impact after half-time taking a trademark leaping mark over a pack on the wing. He also laid a strong tackle and provided a brilliant shepherd on two Dockers chasing Dom Sheed. Eagles coach Adam Simpson said it could not have worked out better.

"Perfect, just what we wanted," Simpson said.

"Like we said before the game, get his minutes up, get through unscathed, and I think there's no injuries from anyone." 

Simpson was wary that despite his team's win on the scoreboard, the Eagles were beaten comfortably in contested possessions and clearances.

"It felt a bit more like a round one than what it did a few weeks ago," Simpson said.

"I thought we battled well. We lost most KPIs that I value and we still won, that happens sometimes, but I wouldn't have thought if that happens consistently we'll have victories."

Freo's midfielders did find a fair bit of the football. Lachie Neale was again impressive for the Dockers gathering 27 touches while David Mundy and Michael Barlow were polished at stages through the middle.

Fremantle will have one concern ahead of round one though with Michael Walters reported for rough conduct after collecting Brant Colledge high late in the last quarter. Aside from that Ross Lyon was relatively pleased with his side's effort.

"For a practice match, it was an intense game," Lyon said.

"Really high level intensity from both teams. I was really quite pleased.

"The concern at half-time was our sloppiness, some fumbles and dropped marks, and it allowed them to score off some turnovers."

It was a scrappy opening term in the 36-degree heat. Both sides attacked each other with greater intensity than what was shown in their NAB Challenge clash and clean possessions were at a premium.
 
Kennedy kicked two goals for the term, one from a 50m penalty, the other a quick snap after a turnover.
  
The Eagles kicked clear in the second term with a five-goal-to-two quarter. Kennedy slotted his fourth from a set shot on the half-time siren to extend the margin to 19 points.
 
It blew out to 30 points midway through the third term as the Dockers struggled to break through an impressive Eagles press. Kennedy, LeCras, Jack Darling and Matt Rosa all kicked goals on the back of turnovers from the Dockers defence.
 
From there the sting went out of the game as the heat began to takes it toll. Matthew Pavlich spent the entire second half on the bench after being subbed out at half-time.

Star Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe missed his second straight game due to a slight knee issue, but Lyon confirmed both he and Hayden Ballantyne, who was rested due to a corked thigh, will line-up against Collingwood in round one next Friday night.
 
WEST COAST      2.2   7.5   11.6   13.8     (86)                  
FREMANTLE        3.2   5.4    7.8    9.13     (67)          
 
GOALS
West Coast: Kennedy 5, LeCras 2, Sinclair, Cripps, Rosa, Darling, Sheed, Colledge
Fremantle: Sandilands, Walters, Barlow, Pavlich, Sheridan, Duffield, Hannath, Taberner, de Boer
 
BEST 
West Coast: Kennedy, LeCras, Hurn, Priddis, Sheed, Rosa, Glass
Fremantle: Barlow, Sheridan, Hill, Neale, Mundy, Duffield
 
INJURIES
West Coast: Nil
Fremantle: Nil
  
SUBSTITUTES
West Coast: Naitanui replaced Lycett in the second quarter; Lycett replaced Sinclair in the third quarter; Colledge replaced Shuey in the fourth quarter
Fremantle: Taberner replaced Pavlich at half-time; Crozier replaced Suban in the third quarter
 
Reports: Michael Walters (Fremantle) reported for rough conduct on Brant Colledge
 
Umpires: Margetts, Dalgleish, Farmer
 
Official crowd: 12,000 approx at Patersons Stadium