Kennedy leads Eagles to victory in battle of the birds
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West Coast forward Josh Kennedy kicked four goals, including the match winner, in a stunning six-point victory against Adelaide on Saturday night.
The Eagles appeared buried when 13 points down some 20 minutes into the last quarter at a rain-soaked AAMI Stadium.
But they steamed home with the last three goals to pinch an 11.9 (75) to 9.15 (69) victory.
West Coast’s crucial triumph squared their win-loss ledger at seven each and keeps them in finals contention.
But the Crows now are three wins outside the top eight and unlikely to feature in the play-offs.
Eagles midfielders Chris Masten, Matt Priddis and Brad Dalzeill were prolific ball winners while Kennedy’s haul included the game-deciding goal, scored with just 53 seconds remaining.
The Crows were well served by Patrick Dangerfield and Richard Douglas and forwards Tom Lynch and Jason Porplyzia each two goals.
But their teammate Shaun McKernan faces lengthy suspension for a blatant elbow on Eagle utility Brad Sheppard in just the seventh minute of the game.
The fringe Crows ruckman came from the side and collected Sheppard with a clumsy left elbow to the head after the West Coast player disposed of the ball.
McKernan was reported and Sheppard was briefly spelled but returned as the Eagles kicked four late goals for seven-point quarter-time lead.
Adelaide rallied in the rain in the second quarter, with playmaker Dangerfield kicking one of the Crows’ three goals of the quarter.
The Eagles could manage just one, when Kennedy slotted his second for the game, as they slipped seven points behind at halftime.
But West Coast stole momentum with Kennedy adding another as the visitors potted three goals to Adelaide’s one in the third quarter.
The Eagles led by two points at the last break, but surrendered their advantage and appeared doomed when Adelaide’s Porplyzia slotted his second for a 13-point lead.
West Coast then potted three goals in eight minutes, with Kennedy scoring on the run to secure a stirring win.
West Coast coach John Worsfold praised the character of his players.
“Certainly I thought it was going to be hard to get back,” he said of his side’s last-quarter plight.
“Once we got behind, the challenge was to take some risks but also play smart.”
The Eagles will likely be without Jacob Brennan (groin) for next weekend’s derby against Fremantle.
Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson said he was shattered for his players.
“It feels like we shouldn’t have lost that game, but we did,” he said.
Sanderson said Riley suffered an ankle injury while Bernie Vince was concussed in the last quarter.© AAP 2014