Nic Nat laws superb … the Eagles ruckman was once dominant as West Coast beat Richmond in Perth. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)
It was once billed as a conceivable grand ultimate preview — 4 months early — as West Coast took on Richmond within the fit of the spherical.
However no-one outdoor probably the most constructive Eagles fan will have noticed the level of what came about within the West, because the Eagles triumphed through 47 issues.
So what does all of it imply? How a lot does house merit rely for?
Is that this a one-off, or does it give the remainder of the league a information to beating the Tigers?
Let us take a look at what we now have discovered from West Coast — Richmond.
All of it begins within the heart for West Coast
The go back from damage of Nic Naitanui at all times loomed as an enormous bonus for the Eagles in season 2018.
Eagles flying prime once more
- Rd 1 – Loss to Sydney through 29 (Perth)
- Rd 2 – Win over Western Bulldogs through 51 (A)
- Rd three – Win over Geelong through 15 (Perth)
- Rd four – Win over Gold Coast through 80 (Perth)
- Rd five – Win over Carlton through 10 (A)
- Rd 6 – Win over Fremantle through Eight (Perth)
- Rd 7 – Win over Port Adelaide through 42 (Perth)
- Rd Eight – Win over GWS through 25 (A)
- Rd nine – Win over Richmond through 47 (Perth)
No sport and no crew is a one-man affair, nevertheless it needs to be mentioned that Nic Nat has been pivotal in West Coast’s ripping begin to the season.
His nearly unbeatable tap-work, his bodily presence and tackling, and his basic play makes him laborious to battle. However Naitanui on his personal do not have been sufficient to tip the stability in opposition to Richmond.
The Eagles’ paintings within the heart was once superb, specifically Elliott Yeo — who controlled 29 disposals and 10 clearances, regardless of it appears wrenching his knee within the first quarter and finishing the sport limping along with his leg strapped.
The house facet were given the ball out of the center and moved it temporarily in opposition to the Tigers. They would possibly not have had a ton of ahead entries, however they made them rely.
Some of the giant plusses in opposition to the Tigers was once that after Naitanui went off for a breather, Scott Lycett proved to not be the vulnerable hyperlink within the ruck.
It needs to be mentioned, Richmond’s number of smaller 2nd rucks to again up Toby Nankervis was once now not a good fortune, however you’ll best beat what is in entrance of you.
Tigers fee hits a large roadblock
Richmond’s run of wins got here to a crashing halt in opposition to West Coast at Perth Stadium. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)
For lots of the ultimate 18 weeks of soccer, the Richmond Tigers were the benchmark within the AFL.
From the spherical 17 win over the Brisbane Lions ultimate season to ultimate week’s win over North Melbourne (together with two losses in the ones 18 fits), the common outcome was once the Tigers completing 28 issues higher than their warring parties.
Richmond FC tweet: Outplayed through the Eagles as of late. Richmond 12.11 (83) defeated through West Coast 20.10 (130) #AFLEaglesTigers #gotiges
Groups enjoying Richmond have turn into nearly used to dropping — the massive exception being Adelaide’s 36-point victory in spherical two — however the impact has been that Damien Hardwick’s males have grown in recognition and self belief.
Rapid ahead to Sunday afternoon at Perth Stadium, and with the exception of one quarter of soccer, the Tigers have been smartly and really trumped through Adam Simpson’s facet.
Jack Riewoldt kicked 5 objectives, Dustin Martin had 26 touches and 8 clearances, however in a crew containing 19 of the avid gamers who gained the flag on the MCG ultimate September, the Tigers had few winners at the day.
The Richmond that ruled finals stopped its warring parties from getting at the scoreboard — however West Coast controlled 30 scoring pictures from simply 45 within 50s.
Each and every crew will have an off day, and Richmond nonetheless has a ways an excessive amount of skill to start out leaping off them, however this loss will surely supply numerous meals for concept at Tigerland.
Jack the Darling of the ahead scene
The Eagles’ Jack Darling (R) is best 3 objectives in the back of Ben Brown within the race for the Coleman Medal. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)
Time was once, the stuttering run-up of famous person ahead Josh Kennedy was once the sound that gave opposition defences nightmares once they confronted West Coast.
Kennedy has gained two of the ultimate 3 Coleman Medals, and even though he neglected the beginning of this season getting better from ankle surgical procedure, he is smartly and really again now.
However Jack Darling remains to be a very powerful guy up entrance for the Eagles in 2018, and he proved it once more in opposition to the Tigers.
Richmond have a dependancy of shutting down key forwards, however Darling persevered to do what he has carried out this season — take contested marks and kick objectives — giving Alex Rance a tub within the procedure. If it wasn’t for a final quarter error, the massive Eagle would have ended the sport with seven objectives. Because it was once, 6.2 was once somewhat a tidy go back.
In similar information, West Coast’s talent to transport the ball intended that after it did pass within 50, as regularly as now not there was once an Eagles tall at the finish of it.
It wasn’t simply Darling — Kennedy had 4 grabs within the arc and Scott Lycett had one. Nevertheless it wasn’t simply the talls going in at the act, both, with Jamie Cripps bagging 3 and Mark LeCras, Andrew Gaff and Jack Redden additionally taking a mark within the ahead line.
When a crew takes 19 marks within 50, until they have left their kicking boots at house, the 4 issues usually are heading their method.
Do not pass pencilling Eagles into GF simply but
All proper, Eagles lovers — sure, this can be a giant win on your membership, and sure, they’re the actual deal. However it’s nonetheless best any other step on a protracted street to a conceivable premiership.
West Coast is now Eight-1 and a sport transparent on the most sensible, and for the instant the number 1 headache for opposition coaches will now be looking for a technique to the Eagles’ gamestyle, slightly than the Tigers.
However simply take a deep breath for a 2nd.
Subsequent week the Eagles will face an offended Hawthorn outfit — recent from a shocking loss to Brisbane — at Docklands, and not anything is assured from that. A win in spherical 11 in opposition to the Saints will have to see West Coast into the bye, however the following 4 after which are the Swans in Sydney, Essendon at house, the Crows at Adelaide Oval and GWS in Perth.
Win the ones 4, and the case that the Eagles are going to be tricky to stay out of overdue September might be tougher to argue in opposition to.
The X-factor in all this might be West Coast’s hi-tech new house deck of Perth Stadium. If Eagles lovers sense a go back to the consideration days, and residential video games change into a chain of lockouts with 60,000 at the door, then West Coast could have an intimidating surroundings in addition to a powerful crew with which to greet visiting facets.
That would possibly not win a flag — beating the Tigers or any person else on the MCG might be wanted for that — however it would arrange house merit for the finals. Let’s wait and notice.