IT MIGHT be time to start paying West Coast a bit more respect.
Faced with what coach Adam Simpson termed their toughest opponent so far in Port Adelaide, at the start of a challenging month, the Eagles proved yet again they will be a force to be reckoned with at Optus Stadium in a 42-point triumph.
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Except for a nervy patch either side of three-quarter time, when the largely-disappointing Power booted five unanswered goals, this was the new-look Eagles at their best.
They were ferocious with their tackling, tough at the coalface (plus-42 contested possessions), confident with the footy and destructive inside 50.
Even without the match-winner from last year's epic elimination final, Luke Shuey, who went down with a right hamstring tear inside three minutes, West Coast hammered the Power, 16.6 (102) to 9.6 (60).
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"(There was) some good numbers today, in particular after losing Luke really early to a hamstring injury," Simpson said post-match.
"He had a bit of an issue throughout the week, but I think it was his other hamstring.
"For the players to come off a six-day break and get it done one-man down for the whole day I was really proud of the performance.
"Probably the biggest thing was contested possessions plus-40. We haven't done that for a long time."
The Eagles had winners everywhere as they, at least until Sunday, climbed to the top of the ladder.
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Emerging young gun Willie Rioli (16 disposals, two goals) was electric, setting up teammates with his precise foot skills and smarts, in the best display of his short career.
Jack Redden (32 possessions) franked his Western Derby form, Jack Darling (three goals, six contested marks) continued his stunning form stepping out of Josh Kennedy's shadow, while the dual Coleman medallist (four goals) was also deadly.
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Ever-reliable captain Shannon Hurn (22 disposals) was rock-solid again, ruckman Scott Lycett continued his strong form, while Jack Petruccelle produced a lively two-goal display after a quiet debut in the Western Derby.
In notching their sixth-straight win, and fourth from five games at their new home, the Eagles solidified their top-four spot and reaffirmed their finals credentials.
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Port Adelaide (4-3) would walk away bitterly disappointed after a shocking opening two-and-a-half quarters cost them any hope.
The Power were down in contested ball by 32, 11 in clearances and inside 50s at the major break, not to mention 37 points on the scoreboard.
If Ken Hinkley demanded a lift at half-time, he didn't get it until after the Eagles had motored to a 55-point advantage at the 19-minute mark of the third quarter.
The Power were in danger of being blown away, but finally gave fans the contest anticipated against a fierce rival, getting their hands dirty at the coalface and linking up with running handballs from half-back.
A five-goal burst briefly gave Hinkley's men hope, but Mark Hutchings broke their resistance with a dead-eye goal from the pocket and the Power, who loaded up with recruits in the off-season, slumped to a third loss in four games.
Skipper Travis Boak (28 disposals) and star onballer Robbie Gray (28) tried hard, with support from Dan Houston (24) and recruit Steven Motlop (22, one goal) showed some fight, but returning big man Paddy Ryder was beaten in the ruck and Port had too few contributors.
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It was West Coast's first win over Port in Perth since 2011, and the Eagles' first 6-1 start to a season since 2012, when they finished fifth with 15 wins.
They have now won five from the past six games against the Power, and Hinkley lamented the lop-sided contested ball count post-game.
"That is why we lost the game, it’s as simple as that," Hinkley said.
"The Eagles dominated us in the contest and that’s why they got the lead they got.
"We showed a little bit of spirit for a small patch in the third quarter, but you can’t win games when you get beaten that badly in contested possession."
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West Coast: Star midfielder Luke Shuey went down inside three minutes with a nasty-looking hamstring injury which could sideline him for at least several weeks.
Port Adelaide: Spearhead Charlie Dixon hurt his calf in the opening minutes but soldiered on.
The Eagles travel to face a depleted Giants outfit at Spotless Stadium in a contest they will believe they can win, while Port Adelaide returns home for a crunch Showdown with bitter rivals Adelaide.
WEST COAST 4.1 9.3 13.4 16.6 (102)
PORT ADELAIDE 2.1 3.2 8.2 9.6 (60)
West Coast: Kennedy 4, Darling 3, Rioli 2, Petruccelle 2, Hutchings, Waterman, Redden, Cripps, LeCras
Port Adelaide: S Gray 2, Johnson 2, Bonner, Watts, Dixon, Polec, Motlop
West Coast: Redden, Darling, Rioli, Hutchings, Kennedy, Gaff, Lycett
Port Adelaide: Boak, Houston, R Gray, Byrne-Jones, Wines
West Coast: Shuey (hamstring)
Port Adelaide: Nil
Umpires: Deboy, Hosking, Chamberlain
Official crowd: 50,516 at Optus Stadium