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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
West Coast: There were no serious concerns for the Eagles.
Melbourne: There were no serious concerns for the Demons.
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)
West Coast: Ryan 3, Ah Chee 2, Sheed 2, Gaff, Kelly, Jetta, Darling, Petruccelle
Melbourne: Pickett 2, T.McDonald 2, Viney, Neal-Bullen, Melksham
West Coast: Naitanui, Gaff, Sheed, Ah Chee, Shuey, Ryan, Hurn
Melbourne: Viney, May, Pickett, O.McDonald, Petracca, Langdon
West Coast: Nil
Umpires: Dalgleish, Findlay, Dore