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2020 Toyota AFL Premiership
Round 1 • West Coast Eagles v Melbourne
78 12.6
Full Time Eagles by 27
51 7.9
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    Match preview: Can the Dees upset the Eagles?

    The Demons kick off their campaign with a tough road trip out west. Can they cause an upset?

    Jamie Cripps is tackled by Christian Salem last season. Picture: AFL Photos

    Where and when: Optus Stadium, Sunday March 22, 3.40pm AWST

    Last time they met: Traeger Park, round 18, 2019: Melbourne 11.12 (78) lost to West Coast 14.7 (91)

    TV and online: Click here for broadcast guide

    What it means for West Coast: The Eagles haven't had their best players available through the pre-season and they've looked rusty, to be kind. With Jack Darling (cheekbone), Jeremy McGovern (heel) and Josh Kennedy (elbow) overcoming hurdles, the Eagles will want to remind themselves how powerful this list is. 

    What it means for Melbourne: A gruelling summer under new performance manager Darren Burgess has sought to give the players confidence they can match it physically with anyone. They'll find out if they can against a deep Eagles midfield that runs both ways. 

    The stat: West Coast rated 10th for centre bounce clearance differential in 2019 (-0.3). The Demons, meanwhile, ranked third (+1.4). It'll be a crucial part of Sunday's match-up, with ruckmen Nic Naitanui and Max Gawn vital to the chances of their respective teams.  

    The match-up: Elliot Yeo v Jack Viney

    Both are contested bulls and both have a strong defensive side to their game. They will play similar roles on Sunday, winning the hard ball in the midfield and negating when they need to. Whoever does it better will go some way to determining the result.

    COMPARE THE PAIR Elliot Yeo v Jack Viney

    In the spotlight: Tim Kelly

    Who else but the star recruit? Kelly showed glimpses through the Marsh Community Series, getting what he needed to out of the pre-season games. He's worked hard on building chemistry with his new midfield teammates and now is the time to deliver. 

    00:52 Mins
    Published on

    Marsh: Clean Kelly collects for the Eagles

    Tim Kelly kicks his first goal as an Eagle

    Published on

    Big call: Christian Petracca's pre-season form was no tease and the Demon is ready to realise his superstar potential, starting Sunday.

    Prediction: West Coast by 18 points

    MATCH REPORT

    Eagles head into season break with big win over Dees

    West Coast blitzes Melbourne in the last game of footy for at least two months

    Jack Darling flies for a mark against Melbourne. Picture: AFL Photos

    WEST Coast will enter the AFL's shutdown period at least with the certainty it has four points to its name after controlling Sunday's strange clash against Melbourne to win by 27 points at Optus Stadium.

    The Eagles and Demons started Sunday's match knowing it would be the AFL's last for at least 70 days after chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced the season would be postponed until at least May 31.

    06:16 Mins
    Published on

    Highlights: West Coast v Melbourne

    The Eagles and Demons go head to head in round one

    Published on

    That dramatic news was handled better by the Eagles as far as on-field performance, with the home team jumping their opponents and kicking the first five goals of the match.

    01:14 Mins
    Published on

    Ah Chee on a scoring spree

    Brendon Ah Chee shows some smarts in the forward line to notch back-to-back goals

    Published on

    They were led by star ruckman Nic Naitanui, who had the better of new Melbourne skipper Max Gawn, finishing with 23 hit-outs, 13 possessions (10 contested) and six clearances.

    Andrew Gaff (30 possessions), didn't have his ability to win the ball impacted by the shortened 16-minute quarters, controlling one wing, while Luke Shuey (27 and five clearances) made a bright start to his captaincy.

    The Demons, who enter the shutdown 0-1, would have been encouraged by the debut of draftee Kysaiah Pickett, who was a livewire inside 50 with 2.2 and 11 possessions.

    01:03 Mins
    Published on

    Killer pressure comes off for Kozzy

    Kozzy Pickett is the beneficiary of some solid pressure from fellow debutant Toby Bedford

    Published on

    EAGLES BLITZ DEES Full match coverage and stats

    The Demons and Eagles slumped at the final siren, with celebrations muted as reality hit that the season now moves into lockdown.

    00:49 Mins
    Published on

    Sad scenes as AFL hears its final siren for a while

    A historic, yet peculiar moment as the AFL season comes to a temporary halt following the contest between the Eagles and the Demons

    Published on

    Fast starters get it done
    The early theme for the round was the inability for teams to come back from early deficits in shortened games. Sydney, North Melbourne and Hawthorn bucked the trend, but West Coast hammered the point home in the final game. They cut Melbourne apart with their field kicking and hit targets inside 50 to take a 27-point lead into the first break.

    00:43 Mins
    Published on

    That's one tremendous handball to release Ryan

    The Eagles conjure a beautiful sweeping handball to send Liam Ryan on his way towards goal

    Published on

    Viney leads the way
    Jack Viney's time as captain is over and the Max Gawn era has begun, but that doesn't mean the Melbourne midfielder can't show the way on field. Viney was outstanding on Sunday, winning 20 of his 34 possessions in contests. He was the best player on the ground in the first half with 20 and played like a man on a mission. He didn't attend the coin toss, but he looked like a skipper.

    Nothing dull about TK's debut
    It wasn't the first game in blue and gold that Tim Kelly imagined, running out in front of 50,000 fans. But it was the type of debut the Eagles would have hoped for. Kelly slotted seamlessly into a powerful engine room and rotated forward, winning 19 possessions and kicking a nice running goal from 50m. Former Docker Ed Langdon had 31 in his first game for the Demons. 

    23:47 Mins
    Published on

    R1: Eagles v Demons Q4

    Watch the full replay of the fourth quarter

    Published on

    Sharp skills beat hard work
    You couldn't fault the Demons' work-rate. They hit the contest hard, winning the hard ball 118-93, and they worked tirelessly for an inside 50 advantage (45-35). But when they didn't have the footy, West Coast were using their sharp kicking to rack up uncontested marks (114-73) and move forward methodically. Every goal was hard-earned for the Demons. Some of the Eagles' appeared effortless.

    MEDICAL ROOM
    West Coast:
    There were no serious concerns for the Eagles.
    Melbourne: There were no serious concerns for the Demons.  

    NEXT UP
    The season has been put on hold until May 31, meaning all teams face a 70-day wait until round two. West Coast are scheduled to face St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, while Melbourne is due to face Greater Western Sydney at the MCG if there are no changes to the fixture.

    WEST COAST                 5.1   7.3   11.6   12.6 (78)
    MELBOURNE                 0.4   3.6   5.9   7.9 (51)

    GOALS
    West Coast:
    Ryan 3, Ah Chee 2, Sheed 2, Gaff, Kelly, Jetta, Darling, Petruccelle
    Melbourne: Pickett 2, T.McDonald 2, Viney, Neal-Bullen, Melksham

    BEST
    West Coast:
    Naitanui, Gaff, Sheed, Ah Chee, Shuey, Ryan, Hurn
    Melbourne: Viney, May, Pickett, O.McDonald, Petracca, Langdon 

    INJURIES
    West Coast:
    Nil
    Melbourne: Nil

    Reports: Nil

    Umpires:  Dalgleish, Findlay, Dore

     

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