THE sleeping giant has awoken.
Questioned after a 1-3 start to the season, West Coast delivered a sharp reminder to its premiership credentials on Sunday, thumping an undermanned Collingwood by 66 points.
>>WATCH THE THRILLING FINISH IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
Conceding four of the first five goals, the Eagles were led by spearhead Josh Kennedy (seven goals) as they piled on 17 of the next 18 majors to move into the top four at 5-3.
West Coast’s scorching ball movement and ferocious pressure was capped off by youngsters Oscar Allen (three goals) and Jake Waterman (two) in the clinical six-goal third term.
EAGLES FEAST ON PIES Full match coverage and stats
The Eagles kicked the highest score of any side in the competition to date this season in the 18.3 (111) to 6.9 (45) result.
Ruckman Nic Naitanui dug into his bag of party tricks to have the better of Brodie Grundy, while Tim Kelly (30 disposals) played his best game as an Eagle.
The Pies lost Scott Pendlebury (quad tightness) just minutes before the bounce, but it had no impact on their first term as they continued their unbeaten run of opening stanzas.
Kennedy then carried the Eagles to half-time with three goals of his own in the second quarter as the Magpies started to look exposed without Jordan De Goey (finger), Steele Sidebottom (suspension) and Jeremy Howe (knee).
Without Howe zoning off across half-back, Collingwood had no answers for West Coast’s precision by foot and coughed up 18 goals, eight more than any other game this season.
EAGLES' EFFICIENCY OFF THE CHARTS
Despite a run of wins over Fremantle, Adelaide and Sydney, this was the Eagles' most important result to date. With last year's round 17 loss at home to Collingwood fresh in their memories, the Eagles delivered a scary reminder to their rivals after quarter-time with amazing efficiency. Entering their forward arc 35 times, the Eagles generated 21 scoring shots. It comes with at least the next five games to come on their home patch.
REMEMBER THIS COLEMAN MEDALLIST?
Like the rest of his teammates, Josh Kennedy couldn't avoid the scrutiny after a quiet start to 2020. But after seven goals in his first 24 quarters of the season, the dual Coleman medallist has now kicked 11 in his last eight terms. Back in form after four goals and a best-on-ground Glendinning-Allan Medal in last week's Western Derby, Kennedy became the first player to kick seven goals in the shortened quarters of this season. His unblemished day went a long way to the Eagles' extraordinary accuracy.
GRUNDY EXPOSED AGAINST DYNAMIC DUO
Brodie Grundy must have felt like he was on the receiving end of another West Coast double act… just like the 2018 Grand Final. Well beaten by Scott Lycett and Nathan Vardy that day, the dual Virgin Australia All-Australian was taken apart by Nic Naitanui and Oscar Allen on Sunday. The Eagles won the clearances 32-24 and Grundy collected just 10 disposals – well down on his season average of 17. As Nic Naitanui pulled out the party tricks in the third term, it forced the Pies to throw its team around and start Grundy in attack in the fourth quarter. With the Pies' next four games inside 14 days, it will be interesting to see how they manage their star big man.
WEST COAST 2.0 7.2 13.2 18.3 (111)
COLLINGWOOD 4.2 5.3 5.6 6.9 (45)
West Coast: Kennedy 7, Allen 3, Waterman 2, Naitanui, Gaff, Cripps, Ryan, Kelly, Darling
Collingwood: Cameron 2, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Elliott, Daicos
West Coast: Kennedy, Kelly, Allen, Naitanui, Yeo, Shuey, Gaff
Collingwood: Adams, Treloar, Crisp, Quaynor
West Coast McGovern (thumb) replaced in selected side by Rotham.
Collingwood: Pendlebury (quad) replaced in selected side by Bosenavulagi.