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Five talking points: West Coast v Adelaide

Highlights: West Coast v Adelaide The Eagles and Crows clash in round 23
Lewis Jetta played his best quarter as an Eagle right when it was needed - AFL,Talking Points,West Coast Eagles,Adelaide Crows,Domain Stadium
Lewis Jetta played his best quarter as an Eagle right when it was needed

1. Soaring Eagles land on the last September slot 
What a phenomenal way to end an incredible home-and-away season. With Melbourne’s shock loss to Collingwood and taking into account their average score, West Coast needed a winning margin of at least 21 points to feature in September. Fittingly, the margin lurked around that mark for most of the thrilling final quarter. When Charlie Cameron burst into an open goal with less than 10 minutes left, Melbourne fans rejoiced with their team bound for finals. Then Lewis Jetta - a man whose relentless defensive efforts typified his team’s resolve – baulked and goaled with a checkside snap to keep West Coast’s hopes alive. And when Jack Darling courageously ran back with the flight and reeled in a crucial contested mark in the goalsquare, the Demons' fate was sealed.

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2. Buddy’s 10 a bridge too far for Josh
That Josh Kennedy was even in the conversation for the Coleman Medal after missing five games with a calf injury speaks volumes of his standing as one of the League’s premier spearheads. But sometimes even the best have their off days and in relative terms, Kennedy struggled against Adelaide. Needing six goals to snatch the award from Lance Franklin and become just the third player to win the Coleman in three consecutive seasons, Kennedy’s chances were theoretically boosted with the midweek omission of lockdown Crow Daniel Talia. His replacement, Kyle Hartigan, matched the Eagles big man step for step and showed impressive closing speed to foil several leads from the goalsquare. Kennedy showed glimpses in the final quarter with two contested marks but missed the resultant shots of goals to finish with 12 disposals, four marks and 1.4. In turn, Franklin’s incredible 10-goal haul against the Blues bagged his fourth goal-kicking gong.


3. One last WA hurrah for champion veterans
To complete an emotional round of high-profile retirements, champion onballers Matt Priddis (238 games) and Sam Mitchell (327 games) were farewelled by their home crowd after a combined total of 28 years in the game. Priddis’ recent reinstatement to the club’s midfield brigade has resulted in surge of good form, which continued on Sunday when he combined with Mitchell to dominate at stoppages. The 32-year-old tackled with intent, showed quick hands at stoppages and finished with 20 possessions, six clearances and eight tackles, as fans brandished 20,000 placards celebrating his and retiring teammate Sam Butler’s career. In years to come, Mitchell’s signature as an Eagle could be characterised by his time in the coaching box rather than his year on the field. Nonetheless, the four-time premiership Hawk was as crafty as ever in notching 34 disposals, seven marks and four clearances, and was fondly clapped by supporters whenever he left the ground. Eagles coach Adam Simpson also announced the retirement of Drew Petrie after a distinguished 330-game career, during an on-field ceremony post-match.


4. So long Subi, it's party time
Setting aside the significance of the result, the 545th
 and final clash at Subiaco Oval carried with it an atmosphere of festivity and celebration. After weeks of dull and dreary weather, the stadium was bathed in beaming sunlight. A motorcade of club greats including Andrew Embley, Dean Cox, Chris Judd and retiring defender Sam Butler circled the ground with the Eagles' three premiership cups squarely on show. Auzzie the Eagle launched for his final flight – fittingly tailed by a couple of eager crows – before the home side burst through the banner wearing commemorative guernseys with the foreground of the stadium printed on the front. On a day of celebration for WA football, Sunday’s match should live long in the memory of the 39,367 fans in the sea of yellow and blue, and for the millions before them privileged to watch AFL at the state's first home ground.   


5. Ball-magnet brothers set a unique record
When Rory Sloane was routinely tagged out of matches, Adelaide was crying out for more midfielders to share the load. Enter Matt and Brad Crouch, who needed 60 touches between them on Sunday to surpass the Cornes (Kane and Chad with 1,174 disposals in 2007) and Selwoods (Adam and Joel 1,131 disposals in 2009) as the most prolific ball-winning siblings the AFL has seen in any given year. Sloane again copped close attention from Luke Shuey and Mark Hutchings, leaving Matt and Brad to roam free, and so they did. By quarter-time the pair had 23 disposals (Brad 12, Matt 11). At half time, that tally had climbed to a scarcely-believable 50 (Matt 26, Brad 24). And when Brad poked the ball inside 50 with his 29th
 disposal in the 20th minute of the third quarter, the Crouches claimed the record for their own. The pair finished with an incredible 87 disposals between them - Matt with 45 and Brad with 42 – setting the new benchmark at 1,202 touches. Good luck to those who follow suit.