Sunday, 23rd of August 2015 – Words: Tiana Bergmans – Photography: Danielle Micalizzi
The Eagles were alarmingly sensational in their 77 point demolition of the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Perth. Combined with a shock win over the Dockers, the Eagles could be pushing for the coveted first spot on the ladder, thanks to a superb win.
The Bulldogs were highly competitive to begin with, remaining on par with the Eagles for most of the first quarter. Courtesy of goals from Cramieri, Redpath and Stringer, the Dogs only trailed by 13 points at the first change. The Eagles got the edge mainly thanks to leading goal kicker, Josh Kennedy, who was prolific as usual, kicking 7 for the match. He kicked 2 in the first quarter, and the Eagles’ success was assisted by teammates Sinclair, Shuey and LeCras, who was welcomed back from a one week suspension.
The second quarter continued to be electric. Jake Stringer was potent in the attacking forward for the Dogs, slotting 3 pivotal goals, Stewart Cramieri also kicked two, which saw the pair kick 8 between them throughout the game. The Eagles, despite being slightly inaccurate, managed to match the Bulldogs’ 6 goals for the quarter, giving them some breathing space at the main change. The Dogs only had a deficit of 16 points, which paved the way for an intense second half of football.
The first half was relatively high scoring, but the Eagles never truly capitalised on their dominance until the second half. They took advantage of their clearances, in which they beat the Dogs by 11, in the second quarter. This efficiency from the midfield eventuated in 5 goals. Despite 3 goals from Kennedy, Andrew Gaff was arguably the most influential player for the half, gathering 18 possessions and being involved in seven scores for the Eagles.
It took 6 minutes for a goal to be kicked in the third quarter, which came from Jack Redpath of the Bulldogs. This was representative of the defensive pressure coming from both sides. The Bulldogs carried great momentum throughout the quarter, despite the Eagles having greater possession of the ball. Their pressure in their forward 50 was particularly notable, which attributed to their success on the scoreboard, 3 goals and one behind,
Determined not to be outdone, the Eagles were even better in terms of goal efficiency. Early in the third quarter, the kicking efficiency of the Dogs dropped by 24% which hurt them in the long run. Superstars Kennedy and Hill kicked 2 each, respectively and Mark Hutchings also booted a goal, which meant that the Eagles had outdone the Dogs, kicking 5 goals with only one behind. The Eagles had now stretched their lead to 32 points, a win was looking likely, but not guaranteed, as the Dogs have been notorious for crazy comebacks throughout the season.
The Eagles were simply sensational in the last quarter, preponderating all aspects of the game. They went on a goal rampage, kicking 9.2 whilst silencing the dogs, who only kicked 1.1 for the quarter. Their efficiency with the ball was phenomenal, kicking 8 goals from 12 inside 50’s, leaving the Bulldogs bewildered. It was a team effort from West Coast, with 8 different goal kickers, Kennedy being the only one to make it two in the last quarter.
The last quarter intensity from the Eagles was dangerous, and it saw them completely thrash the Bulldogs in the statistics. The Eagles had 392 disposals compared the 344 from the Dogs and completely dominated the contested possessions 151-117.
Matt Priddis was outstanding in the midfield, collecting 37 disposals. Gaff and Shuey were not far behind, with 35 and 31, respectively. Priddis was also fantastic in terms of tackles, making 7 for the game. This was alongside Jamie Cripps who also had 7 tackles, and Mark Hutchings who had 8 and managed to kick 2 goals.
The Dogs were significantly lower in their disposal counts, with a team high of 27 coming from Robert Murphy. Closely followed by Jack Macrae on 25.
The Eagles most certainly stamped their premiership credentials, winning the game by 77 points. They will now challenge their cross town rivals, the Dockers for the highly desirable top spot. The Dogs however, will be fighting hard to try and weave their way back into the top 4, trailing a game behind the Hawks and Sydney who are currently occupying 3rd and 4th spots. The AFL community can expect to witness more electrifying performances from these two promising teams come September.