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Eric Mackenzie's knee injury darkens Eagles' comfortable win over depleted Blues

Match highlights: Eagles v Blues West Coast and Carlton head to Bendigo Bank Stadium
Matt Priddis of the West Coast Eagles  in action during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 1 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Carlton Blues at Rushton Park, Mandurah on February 27, 2015. (Photo: Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis picked up where he left off last year
We played a bit more of a senior side than Carlton and we are aware of that
Eagles coach Adam Simpson

A KNEE injury to reigning best and fairest winner Eric Mackenzie has dampened West Coast's 31-point win over Carlton in the NAB Challenge clash at Rushton Park.

The Eagles easily accounted for the Blues in front of a full house in Mandurah, 1.9.15 (78) to 2.4.5 (47), but there are major fears for their star defender.

Simpson 'fears the worst' after Mackenzie's knee injury

Mackenzie hurt his knee in the second quarter when the Eagles were in control. He twisted his right knee in a marking contest with Levi Casboult and crumpled to the ground without any contact.

He initially limped and then jogged slowly to the bench before undergoing a knee stability test on the sidelines. He then walked to the rooms and did not return. He was substituted at half-time and will have scans on Saturday to assess the damage.   

WATCH: Eric Mackenzie suffers potentially serious knee injury

The injury soured a dominant display by the Eagles. Josh Kennedy starred up forward kicking four goals, one of which was a supergoal.

Mark LeCras showed his class with two goals. Matt Priddis was dominant in the midfield with 24 touches, seven tackles and a goal, while the running power of Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey was prevalent throughout. 

"We were pretty pleased," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"We played a bit more of a senior side than Carlton and we are aware of that."

The Blues clearly missed the experience of Marc Murphy, Chris Judd, Bryce Gibbs, Lachie Henderson, Michael Jamison and Dale Thomas.

Ed Curnow was busy in the midfield for Carlton collecting 18 touches, 15 of them contested. Tom Bell provided some run and dash and kicked their only goal of a poor first quarter. Chris Yarran showed some class in defence. Simon White and Levi Casboult worked hard around the ground throughout the night but there were few winners for the Blues.

"I thought our two best quarters were the first and the third into the breeze, where we restricted them," Carlton stand-in coach Rob Wiley said.

"But we just couldn't score when we had the breeze. You are going to get many challenging situations. We just didn’t adjust as well as West Coast did overall."

West Coast took advantage of the strong breeze in the opening term. Kennedy slotted a set shot from the pocket before launching another from 60m for the game’s first supergoal.

The Blues struggled to get past the centreline for large parts of the first term and only Bell's late goal cut the margin to 20 points at the first change.

Carlton could only break even with West Coast in the second term despite the aid of the breeze.

The Eagles midfield took control in the third with Priddis, Gaff and Shuey running amok to double the margin to 40 points at three-quarter time.

If the West Coast forwards had kicked more accurately in the second half the margin could have been far greater.

WHAT WE LEARNED
West Coast: The Eagles are still heavily reliant on Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis, Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey to win the majority of the football through the midfield, and Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras up forward. Jeremy McGovern played a sweeping role in defence and his ability to read the play and set up could be a very damaging asset for the Eagles this year.  

Carlton: The Blues depth really drops away when you take out the likes of Murphy, Judd, Gibbs, Henderson, Jamison and Thomas. They got slaughtered through the midfield with no one gathering more than 19 possessions and were stretched at both ends.  

NEW FACES
West Coast: The two draftees on show for West Coast, Jackson Nelson and Tom Lamb, looked good again following impressive outings against the Indigenous All Stars a week earlier. Nelson showed great composure playing in defence all afternoon. Lamb came on as a substitute after half-time and was energetic up forward as he was last week. Kane Lucas worked hard all day. He had a chance to kick a goal against his old side but missed.

Carlton: There were plenty of recruits on show but none had a major impact. Blaine Boekhorst took the game on with some bold run. Liam Jones soccered a goal in the second term but was well held otherwise. Kristian Jaksch worked hard in defence. Tom Fields, Matthew Dick, Clem Smith, Jason Tutt and Dillon Viojo-Rainbow flashed in and out of the game.


Jeremy McGovern takes the pre-season very seriously, at Tom Bell's expense.  Picture: AFL Media

WEST COAST      1.2.6   1.4.7   1.8.10   1.9.15    (78)                  
CARLTON            0.1.1   0.3.2   0.4.3   2.4.5     (47)          

SUPERGOALS
West Coast: Kennedy
Carlton: Wood, Tuohy

GOALS
West Coast: Kennedy 3, LeCras 2, Bennell, Cripps, Tunbridge, Priddis
Carlton: Bell, White, Armfield, Jones

BEST
West Coast: Priddis, Kennedy, Gaff, LeCras, Shuey, McGovern
Carlton: Curnow, Bell, Yarran, White, Casboult

INJURIES
West Coast: Mackenzie (right knee)
Carlton: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
West Coast: Lamb replaced Mackenzie at half time; McGinnity replaced Ellis at half time;
Carlton: Viojo-Rainbow replaced Watson in the third quarter; Johnson replaced Fields in the third quarter

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Margetts, Dalgleish, O'Gorman, Mitchell

Official crowd: 10,000 (approx) at Rushton Park