No Shuey, no worries
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.”