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West Coast have overcome the early loss of star midfielder Luke Shuey to post a 42-point win over Port Adelaide in their AFL clash at Optus Stadium.
Shuey injured his right hamstring just two minutes into the match but the Eagles were still able to power their way to the 16.6 (102) to 9.6 (60) victory in front of 50,516 fans on Saturday.
The game was all but over by the 20-minute mark of the third quarter, when West Coast led by 55 points.
Port launched a spirited fightback to reduce the margin to 25 points early in the final quarter but goals to Mark Hutchings and Jack Petruccelle officially ended the contest.
Eagles forward Jack Darling starred with three goals and six contested marks, while Jack Redden (32 disposals, eight clearances) and Willie Rioli (16 possessions, two goals) helped cover the loss of Shuey in the midfield.
The win improved West Coast’s record to 6-1 but they face a tough schedule over the next three weeks when they take on GWS (away), Richmond (home) and Hawthorn (away).
Port Adelaide were touted premiership fancies at the start of the year following their aggressive recruitment spree but three losses from their past four games has left the Power (4-3) on shaky ground.
Apart from a brief fightback in the third quarter when they kicked four unanswered goals, Port lacked any true bite or fight against the Eagles.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley would have been left fuming by his team’s lack of hardness, with West Coast winning the contested possession battle 162-120.
Shuey’s early exit on Saturday saw Eagles coach Adam Simpson hand goalsneak Rioli some significant midfield stints.
Rioli stood up to the task, tallying some important possessions and setting up several attacking forays.
The 22-year-old kicked a good crumbing goal late in the second quarter.
And just minutes later he dived on a loose ball and fired a quick handball to Jack Petruccelle, who kicked truly to give West Coast a commanding 37-point lead at half-time.
The stats didn’t make for pretty reading for Port Adelaide at halftime.
West Coast won the inside 50m count 29-18, clearances 26-15, contested possessions 87-55, and hitouts 30-14.
Rioli’s long-range goal extended the margin to 55 points in the third quarter.
And although Port Adelaide were able to launch a brief fightback after that, it was far too little to breach the gap.