WEST Coast will enter its second hub stint as the form side of the competition after winning its eighth consecutive match over Greater Western Sydney on Sunday.

EAGLES' STRAIGHT EIGHT Full match coverage and stats

The Eagles finished their latest run of matches at Optus Stadium in style, with scintillating ball use and the brilliance of Nic Naitanui too much for the Giants in the 9.7 (61) to 7.7 (49) win. 


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Nic Nat catches a snap and sends one of his own home

Nic Naitanui delights the West Coast faithful with a beautiful snap at goal

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It will leave Leon Cameron's outfit at least one match outside the top eight at the completion of round 13, while the Eagles sit fourth as they return to Queensland for their final five matches.


Naitanui's silver service and all-round dominance over Shane Mumford led the Eagles to a fast start with their imposing forward line looking set to embarrass a Giants defence missing Phil Davis.

Eagles Brad Sheppard and Tom Barrass locked down on goalless Giants pair Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron to allow Jeremy McGovern (eight intercept marks) to mop up across half-back.

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McGovern, the intercept king at frightening best

Jeremy McGovern cuts off just about everything the Giants throw at him in an truly freakish performance

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Outside of promising debutant Jake Riccardi, the Giants' forward half lacked potency, with small forward Brent Daniels breaking their goal drought at the 17-minute mark of the second term.

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Small Giant conjures long-awaited opener

Brent Daniels finds plenty of space out the back and earns GWS a much-needed first goal

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Goals from Riccardi and Stephen Coniglio early in the third term reduced the margin to 10 points before Jack Darling's third major and a goal to Eagles debutant Xavier O'Neill wrestled back momentum.

Majors from big improver Brendon Ah Chee either side of the final break saw the Eagles skip 31 points clear before a late rally from the Giants to get within 12 points in the final two minutes flattered them on the scoreboard.

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Eagles soar towards 'X-factor' after first AFL major

Elation for West Coast as first-gamer Xavier O'Neill dribbles through his first ever AFL goal

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Nic Nat's first half of dominance
They should start fitting Nic Naitanui's second Virgin Australia All-Australian blazer now. You'll go a long way to find a more dominant first half than what the West Coast ruckman delivered on Sunday. With 11 disposals, six clearances, five score involvements including a goal to half-time, he left Shane Mumford lost for answers in a clinical display. 

Former skipper bound for surgery
Former Giants skipper Callan Ward suffered a nasty compound fracture of the middle finger on his left hand in the third quarter. Given his calm and collected nature, Ward's reaction would've given the Giants' coaching staff hope it was only a dislocation. Moments later they confirmed a serious fracture with a flurry of calls made during the final term to try and find a surgeon to operate on Sunday night. 

Callan Ward's injured finger. Picture: AFL Photos

Another Giant talent up forward
And they didn't need to use a first-round draft pick on this one. Passed over in two national drafts and a Mid-Season Draft last year, Jake Riccardi arrived at Greater Western Sydney via pick 51 in last year's NAB AFL Draft. The 195cm forward fitted in seamlessly on debut on Sunday and proved the Giants' most likely forward as their only multiple goalkicker among his 16 disposals and 10 marks. After dropping Jeremy Finlayson this week, Leon Cameron will be left with a selection headache after Riccardi's introduction.

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Giants march in on debutant after first goal

GWS first-gamer Jake Riccardi manages to get under the radar in the forward line and notches his first ever AFL goal

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WEST COAST                                       4.3       5.4       8.7       9.7 (61)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY             0.1       1.6       3.6       7.7 (49)

West Coast:
 Darling 3, Ah Chee 2, Naitanui, Kennedy, Gaff, O'Neill
Greater Western Sydney: Riccardi 2, Daniels, Coniglio, Lloyd, Kelly, Himmelberg

West Coast: 
Naitanui, McGovern, Sheed, Sheppard, Gaff, Ah Chee, Barrass
Greater Western Sydney: Kelly, Riccardi, Whitfield, Coniglio, Perryman 

West Coast: 
Greater Western Sydney: Ward (finger)