West Coast stay top with win over Hawks

By Michael Ramsey, Michael Ramsey is a Roar Guru

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    West Coast have gone a game clear on top of the AFL ladder with a nailbiting 15-point win over Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium.

    The Eagles were made to fight for everything in a see-sawing encounter on Sunday afternoon but did enough to outclass the Hawks for a 11.9 (75) to 9.6 (60) victory.

    It is the Eagles’ ninth consecutive win and their first over Hawthorn in Melbourne since 2006, taking them a game clear of reigning premiers Richmond.

    Scores were level at halftime and the game was well and truly up for grabs in the fourth quarter as the Eagles went to the final break up by a goal.

    In the end, it was the Eagles’ big names who stood tall when the game was on the line.

    Nic Naitanui was the first to hit the scoreboard in the final quarter, soaring for a huge pack mark and calmly slotting his shot at goal.

    Dual Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy then earned a free kick and slotted his third major to extend the Eagles’ lead to a game-high 19 points.

    “I felt like our leaders and Nic stood up for the small period there and really helped get ascendancy,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

    “It was a difficult, scrappy game at times but to win in that manner and to stand up when it counted, I’m really proud of our players.”

    Off-contract star Andrew Gaff delivered a complete performance in the midfield, gathering 35 disposals, seven clearances, 12 marks and a goal.

    Liam Shiels (29 disposals) and Jaeger O’Meara (three goals) led the way for Hawthorn.

    “They’ve been playing high-quality football, so to keep them to 11 goals we thought was a pretty good effort,” Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said.

    “Unfortunately we didn’t have the polish with our own ball use.”

    In-form spearhead Jack Darling went goalless but the Eagles still had plenty of firepower with youngsters Willie Rioli (two goals) and Jake Waterman (one) both important contributors.

    Rioli delivered one of the highlights of the game when he took a spectacular mark on the half-back flank, then helped set up a Mark LeCras goal with a silky-smooth pass.

    But the Eagles livewire could face match review scrutiny for an incident involving umpire Ray Chamberlain late in the first quarter.

    Rioli gave away a 50m penalty for dropping his knees into the back of a prone Blake Hardwick, then gave Chamberlain a friendly pat on the backside while running back to his mark.

    The AFL has taken a dim view on even the most innocuous umpire contact. Geelong’s Tom Hawkins and Carlton’s Ed Curnow were both referred directly to the tribunal and copped one-week bans for umpire contact earlier this month.

    West Coast have a six-day break before hosting St Kilda at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • Roar Rookie

      May 27th 2018 @ 8:06pm
      Mattician6x6 said | May 27th 2018 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

      Was a great win, hard month over with 4/4, saints next week with shuey likely to return, bye to reset and then off to scg. No easy games or easy draws in the afl but winners are grinners so no complaints here.

      • May 27th 2018 @ 8:38pm
        Lroy said | May 27th 2018 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

        I recall a month ago saying if we went 2 from 4 we would be in good shape. 4/4 Im over the moon!!

        Can’t see Rioli even getting referee to the tribunal over his little pat on the bum. Presumably he was telling the ump it was a fair call 😉

        • Roar Rookie

          May 27th 2018 @ 8:48pm
          Mattician6x6 said | May 27th 2018 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

          I said Hawks was only game we might lose when quizzed 4 weeks back. Massive confidence boost getting over the bogey team.
          Rioli is fine, if gets anymore than a fine ( even that’d be ott,) it’ll be ridiculous.

    • May 27th 2018 @ 8:39pm
      David said | May 27th 2018 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

      West Coast entered this round already a game clear of Richmond right? Defeating the Hawks this week maintains that lead…

    • May 27th 2018 @ 8:46pm
      Doctor Rotcod said | May 27th 2018 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

      I think it was Dalgety who said,a month ago,that it was very unlikely that the Eagles would win the four games just gone.
      Could have bet on it ,I guess,but it’s been good to see them win second halves every week.
      The Hawks disorganised forward half cost them but they can look at only 10 marks inside 50 as well

      Naitanui’s hit-outs equalled McEvoy and Ceglar,by himself in only 56% game time.
      Can he get better? If he keeps to the same output per minute on the ground,his impact will increase as his minutes increase. Scotty Lycett is also a marvel,sitting in 13th in hit-outs in only 70% time on ground

      Swans(A) ,Bombers(H),Crows(A) and GWS(H) in the month after the bye, maybe two more.
      Future is bright

    • Roar Guru

      May 28th 2018 @ 9:10am
      gameofmarks said | May 28th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      WCE have 6 home games left.
      If they can go 6/6 then this pretty much assures them a Top 2 spot.
      And a great chance at another GF appearance in September.
      Shuey back this week in place of Ah Chee, who has been disappointing the last 2 games.
      Parto to replace Masten, if he is rested with that hamstring.
      And Brander in the mix as Waterman might be due for a rest.

    • May 28th 2018 @ 10:35am
      Harsh Truth Harry said | May 28th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

      West Coast beat an ageing hack team by a few goals, big deal. We all know this club do not win finals at the G, much like Geelong so who really cares. If they make it they won’t win at the G on the big day anyway. Have you all forgotten Adam Simpsons horrendous coaching performance in the 2015 GF? It was the second worst coaching performance in a grand final in AFL-VFL history, only bettered by Don “sit on my hands” Pyke last year. Strewth! WHat is it with these big interstate clubs getting these boring one trick coaches who get stage fright in September blokes!

      • Roar Rookie

        May 28th 2018 @ 12:37pm
        Mattician6x6 said | May 28th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

        Your not married are you Harry?

      • May 28th 2018 @ 1:12pm
        troy said | May 28th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

        Worse than port v geelong you are having a laugh there mate.

      • May 29th 2018 @ 8:46am
        Jungle Jim said | May 29th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        ‘Harsh-Truth?” more like a sad-sack statement. it has all the indicators of a classic chip-on-shoulder syndrome. they beat richmond comfortably and now the hawks and AFL’s master coach Clarkson, they beat the dogs at mcg and the cats, they’ve won all 4 away games and yet the wheely-bin of tired old cliches still gets brought out against the Eagles. Enjoy the rest of your season because I certainly will and next season by the looks of it, whether they win a GF or not. But this is the team to beat all the odds stacked against them as an interstate club, this is how good you have to be to to try and ‘steal’ the tin mug.

    • Roar Guru

      May 29th 2018 @ 10:02am
      gameofmarks said | May 29th 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

      Who is this Funny Little Odd Guy?

      • Roar Rookie

        May 29th 2018 @ 1:41pm
        Mattician6x6 said | May 29th 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        Possibly a C U Next Tuesday aswell?

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