Cox stars as Eagles beat St Kilda
West Coast survived a frenetic St Kilda comeback to post a 30-point AFL victory at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.
The Eagles looked to have the game in the bag at half-time after entering the long break with a 49-point lead.
West Coast were content to go through the motions in the third quarter, and the Saints took full advantage to close the margin to 15 points late in the term.
The start of the final quarter was an absolute arm wrestle, but a crucial goal to Patrick McGinnity broke the Saints’ back as the Eagles ran out 18.13 (121) to 13.13 (91) winners.
West Coast ruckman Dean Cox booted a career-high five goals, while Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff and Beau Waters (two goals) were also crucial in the win.
St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt finished with four goals, including three in the first half, but the Saints’ slow start to the match ended up being their downfall.
The Saints entered the game off a six-day break, and struggled to match the Eagles’ run and fierce attack on the ball in the opening half in warm conditions.
And when ruckman Rhys Stanley injured his hamstring in the opening quarter while chasing a ball on the wing, it was always going to be an uphill battle for St Kilda.
West Coast midfielder Matt Priddis was a late withdrawal due to last week’s concussion.
But his absence was barely felt in the opening half as the likes of Shuey, Scott Selwood, Brad Sheppard, Matt Rosa and Waters picked up the slack, with Cox booting four goals.
But all that changed in the third quarter as St Kilda lifted their intensity and West Coast’s intent dropped off.
Six goals to one for the term closed the margin to 21 points at the final break, but McGinnity got the crucial opening goal of the fourth quarter to kill off the contest.© AAP 2013
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