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Eagles seal second spot by beating Brisbane

Jeremy McGovern (Paul Kane/Getty Images)
26th August, 2018
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West Coast coach Adam Simson upbeat about his side’s finals prospects after they stitched up second spot on the AFL ladder with a breezy 26-point win over Brisbane.

It was an ideal tune-up for the Eagles, who fended off a Lions outfit that had saved one of their sloppiest performances all year for last.

The 14.14 (98) to 11.6 (72) result on Sunday afternoon ensures West Coast will play two finals at Optus Stadium, starting with a qualifying final against Collingwood.

If they’re good enough, the Eagles won’t have to travel again until the grand final – and with the likes of Josh Kennedy and Lewis Jetta in line to return from injury, they are beautifully placed.

“I’m really, really proud of our players,” Simpson said.

“They’ve been fronting up all year … they went through a bit of adversity in the back half, losing some games, losing Nic (Naitanui) and the whole (Andrew) Gaff incident was difficult.

“To lock away top two, I’m very ecstatic.”

West Coast midfield trio Dom Sheed (30 disposals), Jack Redden (29 disposals) and Luke Shuey (27 disposals) ran riot, contributing 21 of the team’s 42 clearances.

Up forward, Jack Darling kicked four goals while Jamie Cripps and Liam Ryan chipped in with three apiece.

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For Brisbane, it was a disappointing end to a promising season.

They were keen to at least shape the top four in their final assignment of 2018, and given the vast improvements they have made in coach Chris Fagan’s second campaign at the helm, it was rightly billed as a danger game for the Eagles.

But West Coast killed off the contest in just the second term, booting four goals and restricting the Lions to two behinds to lead by 35 points at the main break.

“That’s been a little bit of a trend of ours against some of the better sides in the comp, they just get us in a patch,” Fagan said.

The Eagles led by 44 points just before three-quarter time, although Brisbane rallied in the last term and kicked four goals to two to give the 16,367-strong Gabba crowd something to cheer about.

“I think West Coast were probably hoping they could steamroll us but our guys showed great character,” Fagan said.

Dayne Beams was best for the Lions with a game-high 32 touches.

But the man who replaced him as captain, Dayne Zorko, struggled again under the pressure of a heavy tag and was kept to just 16 disposals by Mark Hutchings.

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