MAKE no mistake, these Eagles are the real deal.
Any lingering doubts were emphatically and undeniably put to rest at Optus Stadium on Sunday, as West Coast defanged reigning premier Richmond in a ruthless 47-point thrashing.
EAGLES GO TOP Full match coverage and stats
With an eighth-straight victory – the club's longest streak since 2005 – Adam Simpson's rebooted outfit didn't just jump a game clear on top of the ladder, they announced themselves as a serious challenger for the throne.
In a heavyweight bout, the Eagles came out swinging, absorbed everything Richmond could throw at them in the second term and then floored the Tigers with destructive football after half-time, running out 20.10 (130) to 12.11 (83) winners.
Reborn forward Jack Darling was simply unstoppable, booting a career-best six goals and taking seven contested marks in a dominant display.
WATCH: Darling slots his sixth
His sidekick Josh Kennedy, for that is what dual Coleman medallist has incredibly become, slotted three majors, along with veteran Mark LeCras, as the hungry Eagles forwards had 30 scoring shots from just 45 inside 50s.
Reigning club champion Elliot Yeo (29 disposals, one goal) overcame early knee trouble to lead the Eagles' midfield, with strong support from Jack Redden (23, two) and Andrew Gaff (24, one).
Jeremy McGovern (nine marks) was impassable in defence for West Coast, while skipper Shannon Hurn (20 disposals, eight marks) produced another typically assured display as yet another interstate side came up short in Perth.
YOU DON'T KNOW JACK Five talking points
Not since the Swans knocked over the Eagles in round one has either WA club lost at home.
Jack Riewoldt was Richmond's best, returning a five-goal bag, while Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin (26 disposals), left to run free from a tag tried hard without much support.
The Tigers boasted 19 of last year's premiership side, but away from the MCG they couldn't muster anything like the frenzied pressure that carried them to a fairytale flag.
WATCH: McGovern the intercept king
Apart from the second term, when Richmond's pace worried West Coast, the Eagles had the game on their terms, moving the ball precisely by foot and leaving Tigers coach Damien Hardwick without an answer.
Remarkably, scores were level at the main break after Richmond wrestled back to parity from a 22-point deficit at quarter-time.
But, willed on by a state sporting record 57,616-strong crowd, the Eagles put the foot down with a stunning seven-goal third term, blowing the game apart.
WATCH: Yeo can't argue with that
"We had a good day. The second quarter was interesting. We started well, got good field position and thought our forwards were on - they were on all day really," Simpson said post-match.
"But a quality side in Richmond came back like they did in the second quarter and they played at a level we probably haven't seen this year, and half-time couldn't come quick enough.
"But the way the boys responded in the third quarter, with I think Nic (Naitanui) in the middle and Elliot Yeo coming back after a knock to his knee, really set the tone for the second half.
"Really proud of the players."
It was an absorbing opening half, with the Eagles in control early before Richmond flipped the script.
West Coast burst out of the blocks, with a potent mix of talls and smalls in attack causing nightmares for the Tiger backline in a six-goal-to-two term.
The Eagles were controlling the game by foot (62-39 kicks) and McGovern was marking everything as Richmond fell into the trap of bombing high into the forward line.
But after Hardwick's quarter-time address, the Tigers rediscovered themselves and ramped up their frantic pressure, running in waves into their forward line.
In a stunning reversal, Richmond dominated the territory battle (23-4 inside 50s and 58-45 for the match) in the second stanza, turning the contest on its head with a four-goal term.
Martin's fingerprints were all over the fightback and, up forward, Riewoldt's class was on show – including in an audacious soccer finish that Tim Cahill would have been proud of.
WATCH: Riewoldt's soccer stunner
Scores were level 44-all at the long break, but Richmond should've been in front after failing to take full toll with a wasteful 4.5 term.
However, Hardwick's men couldn't sustain the effort, limping to their second defeat of the season.
"I thought they played really well, West Coast. They controlled the game for the vast majority," Hardwick said post-match.
"I thought they looked really dangerous up forward, their backs were really solid all day.
"We've got some work to do, and that's the exciting thing for us. With these sort of losses it can go one of two ways - post-traumatic stress or post-traumatic growth.
"We got beaten by a bloody good side today."
West Coast: Elliot Yeo hobbled off the ground shaking his head in the dying stages of the first quarter after having his right knee and ankle caught awkwardly in a Josh Caddy tackle and went straight down to the rooms, but remarkably returned early in the second quarter with his knee heavily strapped. Yeo could be doubtful for next week against Hawthorn, depending how he pulls up, while star midfielder Luke Shuey will be touch and go coming back from his hamstring.
WATCH: Yeo goes down early
Richmond: The Tigers appeared to emerge unscathed. Alex Rance came off late in the final term but Hardwick thought the champion defender was fine.
The Eagles travel to face Hawthorn searching for a first win over Alastair Clarkson's men in Melbourne since 2006. Fortunately, the clash is at Etihad Stadium and not the Hawks' happy hunting ground at the MCG. Richmond returns home to the 'G to face battling St Kilda.
WEST COAST 6.1 7.2 14.6 20.10 (130)
RICHMOND 2.3 6.8 9.8 12.11 (83)
West Coast: Darling 6, Kennedy 3, LeCras 3, Cripps 2, Redden 2, Rioli, Gaff, McGovern, Yeo
Richmond: Riewoldt 5, Short 2, Caddy, Grigg, Castagna, Conca, Houli
West Coast: Darling, Yeo, McGovern, Redden, Kennedy, Gaff
Richmond: Riewoldt, Martin, Edwards, Caddy, Short
West Coast: Yeo (right knee)
Umpires: Haussen, Dalgleish, Rosebury
Official crowd: 57,616