Eagle keep top-two hopes alive
WEST Coast has overcome a plucky Adelaide by 10 points to stay in the race for a top-two AFL berth.
The Eagles led by 27 points late in Sunday’s third quarter, and withstood a late Crows comeback to secure the 13.12 (90) to 12.8 (80) win at Optus Stadium.
Brisbane’s 91-point win over Gold Coast earlier in the round meant West Coast dropped from second to third on the ladder because of percentage.
But importantly, the Eagles remain equal on wins with both second-placed Brisbane and ladder leaders Geelong.
Given those two teams face off on Saturday at the Gabba, West Coast will guarantee themselves a top-two finish if they can win their final two games of the season – against Richmond (MCG) and Hawthorn (home).
Adelaide (10-10) are 1.5 percentage points adrift of eighth-placed Port Adelaide, and face crunch games against Collingwood (home) and Bulldogs (away) in their final two games.
The Crows suffered a huge blow at the opening bounce of the third quarter when Rory Sloane was accidentally cleaned up by teammate Matt Crouch.
Sloane was left with blurred vision after copping Crouch’s shoulder to the head, and played no further part in the match.
West Coast won the inside-50m count 63-41 for the match.
Eagles forwards Jack Darling and Jake Waterman booted three goals apiece, as did Oscar Allen, while midfielder Luke Shuey tallied 10 clearances from his 29 disposals.
Crows forward Darcy Fogarty kicked five majors in just his 12th AFL match, while Matt Crouch (43 disposals) and Brad Crouch (35) were prominent.
West Coast won inside-50s by 21-6 in the opening term, but it equated to a lead of only 12 points.
Adelaide evened up the supply battle in the second term, and it allowed Fogarty to boot his second and third goals.
The highlight of the quarter belonged to Taylor Walker, with the Crows’ skipper soccering through a goal from almost 40m out in traffic.
Walker went off a short time later to have his left leg assessed, but was able to return.
West Coast made the most of Sloane’s absence in the third quarter to boot five goals to two, extending their lead to 22 points by the final change.
The 54,994 crowd were rabid when Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn was penalised for rushing through a behind in the third quarter.
Although Hurn was under pressure, he was more than 10m out from goal – so the free kick was correctly paid.
Adelaide closed to within two goals on three occasions in the final term but, each time, the Eagles were able to hold them at bay.
© AAP 2019
WEST COAST 3.4 6.6 11.9 13.12 (90)
ADELAIDE 1.4 6.5 8.5 12.8 (80)
Goals: West Coast: J Darling 3 J Waterman 3 O Allen 3 D Sheed J Kennedy L Ryan W Rioli. Adelaide: D Fogarty 5 T Walker 2 B Crouch E Betts L Murphy R Knight R Sloane.
Best: West Coast: J Darling L Shuey T Barrass A Gaff W Rioli E Yeo. Adelaide: D Fogarty D Talia M Crouch B Crouch S Jacobs.
Umpires: Simon Meredith, Craig Fleer, Robert O’Gorman.
Official Crowd: 54,994 at Optus Stadium.