Jamie Cripps celebrates a goal during West Coast's clash against the Western Bulldogs in round 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

THE WESTERN Bulldogs' finals destiny is out of their hands after falling to besieged West Coast by seven points in a monumental upset.

With their season on the line, the Bulldogs turned in a below-par performance at Marvel Stadium and were ambushed by a team that had won just four of its previous 47 games.

BULLDOGS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats

Trailing by nine points at three-quarter time, West Coast finished stronger than its more talented opposition with the first four goals of the last term to score a famous 14.8 (92) to 12.13 (85) triumph.


The result drags the Eagles off the bottom of the ladder for the first time since May 21, meaning they will avoid claiming the club's second wooden spoon if North Melbourne doesn't beat Gold Coast next week.

West Coast had been in the box seat to snare Harley Reid, this year's nominal No.1 draft pick, for most of the season as it occupied the bottom of the ladder.


The Bulldogs will need to defeat Geelong at GMHBA Stadium next Saturday night to have any chance of featuring in finals for a fifth straight season.

But they would then have to rely on Greater Western Sydney falling to in-form Carlton in the final game of the home and away season to be secure in September.

The Bulldogs, GWS and Essendon are in the hunt to claim the last spot in the top eight, while the result confirmed Sydney and St Kilda will play finals in 2023.

Brownlow Medal favourite Marcus Bontempelli (32 disposals, one goal) typically led from the front, while Adam Treloar (32 and one) and Rory Lobb (three goals) were important.


But outside of that trio, the Bulldogs lacked the spark that Eagles guns Tim Kelly (32 disposals), Jamie Cripps (five goals, including three in the last quarter) and Oscar Allen (three goals) had in spades.

The win came with 2018 premiership coach Adam Simpson under enormous pressure following last week's record Western Derby loss to Fremantle.

But Simpson appeared passionate down on the Eagles bench during the entire game, with his energy clearly rubbing off on his players.


The only downside was what looked to be another injury to Eagles premiership hero Elliot Yeo.

West Coast will end a tumultuous season next week at home against Adelaide.

Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern looked to be in serious trouble with an arm injury in the second quarter but returned to play out a crucial role in the victory.


Bulldogs forward Aaron Naughton spent two extended periods off the ground and was limited for the remainder of the contest, finishing with 15 disposals and one goal.

Underrated Eagle has been missed
Jamie Cripps played the opening three rounds of 2023 before breaking his ankle in what was yet another injury blow for the Eagles. The forward returned in round 16 and on Sunday he showed what West Coast has been missing out on this season. Cripps was enormous with a five-goal haul to go with 17 disposals and seven tackles.

'Bont' almost carries the Dogs home
The Eagles had managed to contain Bontempelli during the first half, keeping his impact relatively limited from his 12 disposals. But that all changed in the second half. Bontempelli had 20 disposals in the half and kicked a goal, to go with 10 clearances and eight tackles, but he didn't have enough support in the end.

Super Tim enjoying great year
In a season of lows for the Eagles, Tim Kelly has starred. That continued on Sunday as the midfielder had 32 disposals, eight clearances, 12 score involvements and five goal assists in an enormous performance, particularly in the first half when the Eagles jumped ahead.


WESTERN BULLDOGS          3.2     5.7     10.10     12.13 (85)
WEST COAST                        5.3     7.6      9.7        14.8 (92)

Western Bulldogs: Lobb 3, West, Weightman, Ugle-Hagan, Treloar, Scott, Naughton, English, Bontempelli, Baker
West Coast:
Cripps 5, Allen 3, Darling 2, Yeo, Trew, Maric, Hunt

Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Treloar, English, Lobb, Richards, Jones
West Coast:
Kelly, Cripps, Duggan, Allen, McGovern, Gaff

Western Bulldogs: Nil
West Coast:
Yeo (thigh)

Western Bulldogs: Lachlan McNeil (replaced Jack Macrae in fourth quarter)
West Coast:
Zane Trew (replaced Campbell Chesser at three-quarter time)

Crowd: 23,965 at Marvel Stadium