A WOUNDED West Coast dug deep to reinforce its recent ascendancy over Fremantle and steady its season, winning a record 11th straight Western Derby by 59 points at an empty Optus Stadium on Sunday.

Appearing vulnerable to an easy kill without several senior stars, the Eagles drew on their reserves to overwhelm a young but disappointing Dockers team, winning 20.12 (132) to 11.7 (73). 

They kicked their highest score for the season, making their move in a ruthless five-goal run in the third quarter that appeared to break the Dockers' spirit, then holding their opponents goalless in the final term.

07:40 Mins
Published on

Highlights: West Coast v Fremantle

The Eagles and Dockers clash in round seven

Published on

Midfielder Tim Kelly lifted sensationally to win the Glendinning-Allan Medal as best afield, leading the Eagles with a career-high 42 disposals (23 contested) and 14 clearances – also a career best. 

With top-line midfielders Luke Shuey and Elliot Yeo sidelined, Kelly was called on to be the main man and combined brilliantly with dominant ruckman Nic Naitanui (22 hitouts and eight clearances). 

EAGLES v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats

He was supported in the midfield by Andrew Gaff (35), Dom Sheed (30 and six clearances) and Jack Redden (29 and six) with the weight of midfield contributions too much for the Dockers to contain.

Forward targets Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Jake Waterman capitalised and kicked three goals each, with young star Oscar Allen playing in defence to cover the loss of Jeremy McGovern.

00:36 Mins
Published on

Darling clunks mega mark at some speed

Jack Darling hauls in a terrific grab after hitting the pack with serious pace

Published on

It was a hard, even and clinical team performance that answered their coach's pointed criticism last week in the best possible way.

The opening half was a shootout in front of empty stands, with 13 points separating the teams after the highest scoring half in Western Derby history.

'I'M PROUD OF THE PLAYERS' Simpson calls for consistency, Dockers get 'reality check'

Jamie Cripps snapped the first goal of the second half in just 25 seconds, however, and from there the Eagles were dominant. 

It was their depth and fringe players who stood up at critical times, with Jamaine Jones, Nathan Vardy, Jarrod Brander and Jake Waterman all hitting the scoreboard during the third-quarter run.

01:09 Mins
Published on

That's a big snap from a big Eagle

The Eagles surround Nathan Vardy after the big utility snaps through a superb goal

Published on

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir appeared frustrated at the final break, with his team defence again breaking down under heat. 

Andrew Brayshaw (32 possessions) battled hard in the midfield, while Matt Taberner booted three first-half goals before being shaded by second-game Eagle Harry Edwards.

David Mundy continued a fine season with 29 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s.

00:32 Mins
Published on

Magic Mundy, the gift that keeps on giving

Fremantle veteran David Mundy continues his outstanding season with a brilliant goal in the first

Published on

Simpson gets response
How the Eagles would respond to stinging criticism from their coach that they had appeared weak and were embarrassing against Geelong was one of the many tantalising storylines of the Derby 52. If they didn't bounce back, the path forward would have been troubled. But bounce back they did, tackling ferociously and producing a four-quarter effort for the first time this season. They won every quarter, having previously only won two in a match this season. They won the contested ball count (135-120) and the clearances 40-31, controlling centre bounce in the second half (8-4).

03:28 Mins
Published on

Is this the strangest AFL goal all year?

West Coast snare yet another major but it's unclear who kicked it, even after a lengthy review

Published on

Wounded backlines bleed goals 
Both coaches would have been disappointed with their teams' defensive efforts in a first half goalfest. The highest scoring opening half in Western Derby history saw the teams share 20 goals as Matt Taberner (three) and Josh Kennedy (three) spearheaded their teams. The sight of empty stands in such a thrilling half hammered home the sacrifices being made during the latest COVID-19 scare in Western Australia after a game-day decision from the State Government to lock out fans. It was the first crowdless Derby, with last year's played under restrictions but still in front of 25,306 fans.   

00:46 Mins
Published on

Crafty Cripps finish but wounded Docker earns respect

Jamie Cripps pops through another goal for the Eagles after brave young Docker Heath Chapman has his injured shoulder put to the test

Published on

Reality check for Dockers
Sunday's Derby was Fremantle's chance to announce itself as a finals contender that had arrived under Justin Longmuir. It ended as a reality check for the young team that endured its own injury setbacks – both before and during the match – but ultimately disappointed as their painful losing run against West Coast continued. The backline stumbled without club champion Luke Ryan, with repeated turnovers on the last line from bad decisions crushing any chance of a second-half rally. And the midfield, which had become the cornerstone of the team's recent form, had too many passengers.

WEST COAST     4.2     11.4     11.4     20.12     (132)
FREMANTLE       4.0     9.3     9.3     11.7     (73)

GOALS
West Coast: Darling 3, Kennedy 3, Waterman 3, Brander 2, Cripps 2, Jones 2, Langdon 2, Gaff, Petruccelle, Vardy
Fremantle: Taberner 3, Lobb 2, Colyer, Frederick, Mundy, Serong, Walters, Watson

BEST
West Coast: Kelly, Gaff, Sheed, Redden, Naitanui, Kennedy, Rotham, Darling
Fremantle: Brayshaw, Fyfe, Mundy, Taberner, Walters, Conca

INJURIES
West Coast: Nil
Fremantle: Hughes (shoulder), Chapman (shoulder) 

SUBSTITUTES
West Coast: Ainsworth (unused)
Fremantle: Duman (replaced Hughes)   

Crowd: No crowd permitted at Optus Stadium