No Shuey, no wor­ries

Sunday Herald Sun - - Sport - BRADEN QUARTERMAINE PERTH

ADAM Simp­son called West Coast’s big­gest test.

What he didn’t know was that the Ea­gles’ cal­cu­la­tor would run out of bat­ter­ies only two min­utes into their tough­est ex­am­i­na­tion.

When Luke Shuey’s ham­string popped in the open­ing mo­ments and Dom Sheed (foot) un­avail­able, West Coast was stuck with­out its two ma­jor clear­ance win­ners and it was hard to see how it could make the mid­field numbers add up.

Three hours later the Ea­gles were singing their song for the sixth time this sea­son, hav­ing banked a 42-point point wina­gainst Port Ade­laide at Perth Sta­dium, 16.6 (102) to 9.6 (60).

And those mid­field numbers? The clear­ances read 45-31 in favour of the Ea­gles no-name on­ballers and the con­tested ball count, the Ea­gles’ ma­jor prob­lem last sea­son, was a lop­sided 162-120 their way.

Jack Red­den (32 pos­ses­sions and eight clear­ances) was ex­cel­lent for the se­cond game run­ning and was well sup­ported by El­liot Yeo, An­drew Gaff and Mark Hutch­ings.

West Coast kicked straight to aid its cause and Jack Dar­ling was su­perb with three goals and 10 marks.

The ab­sence of Shuey and Sheed, com­bined with the re­tire­ments of Matt Prid­dis and Sam Mitchell, meant West Coast was with­out its four lead­ing clear­ance play­ers from this Ea­gles: Dar­ling, Red­den, W Ri­oli, Yeo, M Hutch­ings, A Gaff, N Nai­tanui. Power: Gray, Boak, Byrne-Jones, Westhoff, Ebert, Mot­lop. Ea­gles: Kennedy 4, Dar­ling 3, Petruc­celle 2, Ri­oli 2, Cripps, Red­den, Water­man, Hutch­ings, LeCras. Power: John­son 2, Gray 2, Dixon, Polec, Watts, Bon­ner, Mot­lop. Ea­gles Stop­pages 5.2 (32) Fwd half stop­pages 1.0 (6) In­ter­cepts 10.4 (64) Fwd half in­ter­cepts 5.2 (32) Power Stop­pages 4.0 (24) Fwd half stop­pages 1.0 (6) In­ter­cepts 5.6 (36) Fwd half in­ter­cepts 3.2 (20) Ea­gles: Shuey (ham­string) Cham­ber­lain, Hosk­ing, De­boy. 50,516 at Perth Sta­dium HOT: J. Red­den (WC) 134 points (86% TOG) NOT S. Gray (PA) 39 points (77% TOG) last sea­son, but the Ea­gles owned the cen­tre square when it mat­tered against the Power’s Travis Boak, Ol­lie Wines and Brad Ebert.

In-form pair Nic Nai­tanui and Scott Lycett put on a tapout mas­ter­class, giv­ing the Ea­gles 17 hitouts to ad­van­tage to the Power’s nine, de­spite an un­der­done Paddy Ry­der giv­ing his all.

The Ea­gles were up and about early with steals from se­cond-gamer Jack Petruc­celle and Dar­ling, who stripped the ball off their op­po­nents.

The Ea­gles put the gap in the game in the se­cond term, when they dom­i­nated the con­tested ball count 43-24 and the clear­ances 11-5 and added five goals to one.

Spear­head Josh Kennedy was slowed by a knee to the hip from Power de­fender Dougal Howard in the se­cond quar­ter, but he looked in bet­ter nick as he started the third term with two quick goals to take his tally to four.

The game looked to have come back to life when Port Ade­laide got the open­ing goal of the fi­nal term from Steven Mot­lop, but it turned out to be the vis­i­tors’ last of the day as the Ea­gles ran out the game in style.

“There’s a col­lec­tive will about the guys at the mo­ment. They’re all get­ting it done. Scott (Lycett) and Nic (Nai­tanui) are help­ing us get first use, too,” Simp­son said.

“We’re play­ing a con­sis­tent brand and to have six wins al­ready is re­ally great.”

Port coach Ken Hink­ley was irked by the stop­pages: “The Ea­gles dom­i­nated us in the con­tested pos­ses­sion, and that’s why we lost the game.”

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