A ruthless Melbourne outfit has taken its biggest ever win on the West Coast, walking away with a 74-point win to go to 9-0 in a sometimes tense showdown that sees multiple players undergo MRO check.
After West Coast’s Jake Waterman kicked the first goal of the game, the Demons went on a rampage, beating West Coast 6.5 to 0.0 for the remainder of the first term – never looking back after that.
Tom McDonald (four goals), Kysaiah Pickett (three) and Bayley Fritsch (three) wreaked havoc forward, while Christian Petracca started 2.4 of 28 divestments, while the Dees won 16.16 (112) to 5, 8 (38).
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MATCH REPORT PER QUARTER
To make matters worse for the Eagles, spearhead Josh Kennedy was a late out with knee pain, replaced by Hugh Dixon. The medical sub
West Coast showed a good early dare against the reigning Prime Ministers to kick the first goal of the game.
Jake Waterman came down the hall at the end of a “stylish” play pass to give Eagles fans a little cheer at Optus Stadium.
“They want to pull the trigger here West Coast,” commentator Adam Papalia said.
“They find Aquarius from start to finish. Great game for West Coast – that will give them confidence. †
But from that point on in the opening term, it was all Melbourne as the Demons scored four consecutive goals from ‘basic fouls’ by the West Coast.
Alex Witherden coughed up a goal moments later when he failed to hit teammate Jeremy McGovern 15 yards away on the defending 50, and Tom McDonald dove.
“It was just a skill performance that let them down,” said Fox Footy’s Jordan Lewis.
“(Witherden) just couldn’t hit a simple kick,” added Matthew Pavlich.
“It’s too easy – it was really a kick for a one-on-one.”
Another simple mistake, with Liam Duggan spoiling team-mate Jeremy McGovern, cost West Coast their second goal of the game when Christian Petracca jumped in.
“The basics in footy really cost you sometimes,” Pavlich said.
“McGovern had arranged this. Duggan enters, flying for the bellows only for the footy, unfortunately spoiling his teammate. †
When McGovern and teammate Tom Barrass failed to make a kick within the Melbourne forward 50, Kysaiah Pickett got the end of the fast groundwork.
“It was four against two when the ball hit the deck in favor of the Dees,” Pavlich said.
Bayley Fritsch needed Melbourne’s first goal that didn’t come from an Eagles error, before Pickett added his second of the day and moments later Ben Brown was on the scoreboard.
Melbourne had a whopping 20 in the 50s to just five for West Coast when they opened a 35-point lead on the first change.
West Coast scored just one goal in the first quarter – the sixth time in nine games that they have failed to complete the two goals in the first quarter.
The Eagles managed to find some struggle in the second quarter and limit Melbourne’s scoring ease.
“They have closed all exits and forced them to go past the line,” Lewis said.
But on offense, the home side just couldn’t make the Demons pay.
Callum Jamieson missed with his set shot, Luke Foley sent his shot wide and Max Gawn and Steven May continued to select interception marks at will.
Ben Brown added his second goal for the day when he rushed in at 50 without an opponent and the ball came into the back of the game.
Pavlich said the West Coast’s inability to win the ball during the match cost them.
“They just get the Melbourne midfielders,” he said.
“They are so easily sieved out of the front of the Eagles’ interruptions.”
The Eagles went into halftime with just one goal – their lowest halftime score ever against the Demons.
It is the fourth time this season that West Coast have gone into major change with just one goal on the scoreboard, and the sixth this season that they have been held goalless in a quarter in 2022.
Despite the meager scoreboard, coach Adam Simpson said he “can’t ask for much more” after the Eagles limited Melbourne to just one goal in the second.
It was a more attacking West Coast coming out after halftime, with Jamie Cripps kicking the Eagles’ first goal since the opening minutes of the game.
Jack Darling could have given the home side a second of the resulting center play, but pushed his set shot wide.
Bailey Williams added his name to the scoreboard as West Coast looked poised to win the quarter over the reigning prime ministers.
But a late defensive deficit allowed Tom McDonald to push the margin up to 44 points.
“It hasn’t been easy for Melbourne,” said Lewis.
“It’s the first time that the West Coast is likely to let itself down for two quarters.”
The quarter was marred by two incidents – one that will likely cost Liam Ryan some time on the sidelines for his raw punch and a shocking referee call that Petracca took full advantage of.
Jeremy McGovern was unlucky not to receive a 50-yard penalty when Petracca moved on goal; instead, the umpire called play on and pinged McGovern for getting the ball over the boundary line.
Petracca shot the goal from the free kick and sent a message to the crowd, putting his index finger to his lips.
Ryan’s high hump will be looked at after the match, with Pavlich claiming the hip is the attacker’s “dog of a day”.
McDonald kicked his third at the start of the fourth semester, before Jack Darling took his first major to give Eagles fans a little cheer.
The Dees then pounced on a dropped point, with a series of possessions ending with a Charlie Spargo goal from close range before Alex Neal-Bullen became the Demons’ seventh individual goalkeeper.
Fritsch then kicked two goals at a trot to bring his goal tally to three and take the margin to a game-high 67 points.
“The West Coast is wilting and the demons are striving for another victory,” Fox Footy commentator Kelli Underwood told Fox Footy.
There was a scary moment late in the fourth term after Eagle Luke Foley was left a little dazed after a tackle from activated Demons sub Kade Chandler. It took Foley a while to get to his feet and was able to get off the ground, but Chandler will almost certainly face MRO investigation.
Jeremy McGovern snuck forward for a rare goal, but Pickett continued his great night with another goal, before McDonald kicked his fourth to give the Demons their biggest ever win over the Eagles.
3. TENSION HIGH IN 18TH V 1ST CLASH
For a match billed as the most one-sided of 2022, there was plenty of feeling between Melbourne and West Coast on Sunday afternoon.
It started in the second term when Eagles captain Jeremy McGovern lost his cool by pushing his elbow into Demon Jack Viney.
The game got really exciting when McGovern was once again embroiled in a controversial moment.
Demon Christian Petracca appeared to be moving on target, but the umpire called McGovern to continue. He was tackled but got the ball over the boundary line and was pinged for insufficient intent to keep the ball in play.
Petracca went back and made the goal, before turning around and handing it to the Eagles fans.
The Melbourne midfielder put his index finger to his lips to shush the crowd.
“I’m not so sure,” said Matthew Pavlich of Fox Footy.
“Smart to run back to the center of the ground when he can’t hear anyone,” added commentator Jordan Lewis.
When asked why he was going with the gesture, Petracca laughed it off and told Fox Footy, “They gave me a baton for not manning the mark properly.”
A shove and a shove flared up in the third quarter when Eagle Liam Ryan crushed Jake Bowey with a rough punch.
Ryan chose not to tackle and hit Bowey with his shoulder.
“It’s about to boil over after that bump,” commentator Adam Papalia said.
Lewis added: “I think all players know that if they choose to punch and go past the ball you risk hitting someone in the head.
“He went past the ball, collected it in the head, that doesn’t look good.”
Despite the major drama, it was the Demons who still had the 74-point winners.
2. COACH RESPONSE IN A RECORD SUMMARY OF EAGLES POLICY
West Coast went into halftime with just one goal on the scoreboard for remarkably the fourth time in nine games this season.
The only goal of the shocking first half came in the opening four minutes of the game, with West Coast’s scoreless second term in the sixth quarter failing to score in 2022.
Despite the horror score, West Coast coach Adam Simpson said he couldn’t ask “much more” from his players.
“The numbers were pretty good, I know we didn’t score a goal, but all the indicators we were trying to get against a side like Melbourne… Can’t really ask for much more,” he told Fox Footy at halftime.
Simpson highlighted his team’s turnovers, pressure, tackles and disputed possessions as positives in the big half-time deficit.
The Eagles are anchored at the bottom of the ladder with a 1-8 start, on the back of injuries and Covid chaos.
1. PICKETT ‘PICK THEM FROM’ IN PERTH
Kysaiah Pickett set the Demons on edge early in the game against West Coast, with his blistering pace “setting the tone” for a dominant opening term.
Pickett was everywhere for Melbourne, finishing with three goals for his efforts.
“He’s been active from the center square to the front 50,” said Fox Footy’s Jordan Lewis.
“He races back to goal, really challenges his defender.
“He started with red hot form.”
Commentator Kelli Underwood said Pickett “took them apart”.
“He’s had a fair start to the game, hasn’t he,” said Fox Footy’s Matthew Pavlich.
“He has worked so hard, he almost drags his man Witherden to football and then goes to get the crumb.
“It’s a great reward for all the hard work he’s put in on the pitch.”
Lewis said Pickett played a role that often went unrecognized.
“It’s good to see those high forwards being rewarded,” said Lewis.
“Those roles internally always stand out, but it’s nice to get that recognition from the outside.”
Pickett ended up with 20 divestments and 10 score engagements.
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