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Australian News

He’s captivating, mesmerising and even special. Could West Coast’s Nic Naitanui be in line for All-Australian selection?


It’s hard to look away when Nic Naitanui is within touching distance of the football.

He’s a captivating figure — some (Chris Scott) have said “mesmerising” — and the word “special” has been thrown up, even by his own coach Adam Simpson, who has generally played a straight bat when praising individuals.

Naitanui’s combination with Josh Kennedy to kick a goal against Geelong — which ultimately swung momentum West Coast’s way — was lauded, and much has been made of his impact on the game with relatively few actual possessions of the football.

Against the Cats, the ruckman collected just 10 disposals but produced seven inside 50’s, equalled only by prolific ball-winner Andrew Gaff.

On Sunday against Carlton, Naitanui had only eight possessions but amassed 41 hitouts, four tackles and seven clearances.

The Eagles finished with 43 clearances to the Blues’ 32, in no small part due to Naitanui’s craft.

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Nic Naitanui has suffered several injuries in recent years.

To put his impact into context, in his 2012 All-Australian year, Naitanui averaged 24 hitouts per match.

In the shortened games this year, he’s averaging nearly 30.

There have been just three seasons where the ruckman has averaged more hitouts per match than this season.

Where Naitanui has dramatically improved this season has been his ability to win his own ball at stoppages.

He’s averaging five clearances per game, a stat he has only bettered once in his career — and that was in his five matches last year.

Stiff competition in the ruck

Naitanui’s recent years have been ruined by injury, and perhaps how good he is has been forgotten, but Naitanui has been vital to the Eagles’ success this season.

He could also be in line for another blazer come All-Australian selection time.

But he faces stiff competition from three excellent exponents of the ruck craft.

Nic Naitanui of the West Coast Eagles celebrates with his arms outstretched as the rain comes down.
Whether Naitanui will put together a strong enough string of performances to see him named in the code’s best team remains to be seen.(AAP: Hamish Blair)

Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy, Melbourne’s Max Gawn and North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein have all been in strong form this season.

The three of them average more hitouts and more disposals per game than Naitanui, though the Eagles big man has driven his side into attack more frequently.

For pure entertainment, it’s hard to go past Naitanui, who is capable of producing incredible highlights.

But whether he’ll put together a strong enough catalogue of ruck performances to see him named in the code’s best team remains to be seen.



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Melbourne destroys Kangaroos by 57 points, West Coast Eagles beat Carlton for sixth straight AFL win


Melbourne has thrashed the Kangaroos by 57 points at Adelaide Oval to sit ninth on the AFL premiership ladder.

Earlier on Sunday, the West Coast Eagles claimed a sixth consecutive win after unleashing a devastating third-quarter blitz to beat Carlton by 22 points in Perth.

In Adelaide, Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw were outstanding in the Demons’ 13.14 (92) to 5.5 (35) win.

The pair combined for 58 disposals as Melbourne completed a remarkable reversal of fortunes in a five-day stint in Adelaide.

The Demons arrived in the South Australian capital last Wednesday under a blowtorch after club chairman Glen Bartlett labelled them insipid in a preceding loss to Port Adelaide.

But they crushed winless Adelaide by 51 points last Wednesday night and then dismantled North Melbourne to return to finals contention.

Melbourne is now just two points shy of the eighth-placed Collingwood — and with a match in hand on most other clubs — while the Kangaroos remain in the mire in 16th position.

The Demons’ victory was full of midfield substance with Petracca (29 disposals, one goal), Clayton Oliver (31 disposals, one goal) and Brayshaw — whose 29 touches included a goal and eight inside 50s — all instrumental.

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Emerging key forward Sam Weideman kicked two goals and missed three other gilt-edged chances, Bailey Fritsch also slotted two majors, while Kysaiah Pickett (one goal) was eye-catching in patches.

The Kangaroos relied almost solely on Nick Larkey, who booted four of his side’s five goals with the other coming from Majak Daw in the second minute of the match.

North Melbourne led by 10 points at quarter-time but managed just two more goals in the match as the tide turned the Demons’ way.

The Demons booted three goals to one in both the second and third terms to create a 16-point buffer at three-quarter time.

And just as they did against Adelaide when they scored seven last-term goals, the Demons again went on a scoring spree in the final quarter.

This time, they kicked six consecutive goals while restricting the flagging Kangaroos to a solitary point.

Eagles maintain winning form

Alarm bells were ringing for the Eagles when Zac Fisher’s fourth goal gave Carlton a 19-point lead in the opening minute of the third quarter.

Josh Kennedy, however, settled West Coast’s nerves a few minutes later with his first goal of the match.

But the real damage was done in the dying minutes of the third term when West Coast slammed home four goals in the space of three minutes to go into three-quarter time with an 11-point lead.

Dom Sheed then booted two goals in the final quarter to help lift West Coast to the 11.6 (72) to 7.8 (50) win in front of 19,092 spectators.

Sheed was best afield with 26 disposals, nine clearances and two goals, while teammate Nic Naitanui (41 hit-outs, seven clearances) was a dominant force in the ruck.

The Blues lost Jack Martin to a calf injury in the second quarter and ruckman Marc Pittonet spent about 30 minutes off the field with what appeared to be a finger injury.

Carlton’s star midfielder Patrick Cripps tallied 19 disposals and eight clearances despite spending long stints up forward.

A West Coast Eagles AFL player marks the ball with two hands in the air as a teammate jumps up at the same time.
The Eagles got on top of the Blues late in the match to clinch the four competition points.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

West Coast’s win improved its standing to a 7-3 win-loss record. Carlton (4-6) now faces an uphill battle to make the top eight.

Both teams booted two goals apiece in the opening term, with the most notable moment coming when the Blues were on the wrong end of a controversial holding-the-ball free kick late in the quarter.

Sam Petrevski-Seton was powerless to get a disposal away after having his arms pinned in a bear-hug tackle from Jack Darling as soon as he got the ball.

The Carlton defender expressed his disbelief when the free kick was paid, with the subsequent 50-metre penalty gifting the Eagles a lucky goal.

Fisher booted his second and third goals in the second quarter to help give Carlton a surprise 13-point lead at half-time.

The sun peeked out from behind the clouds in the third quarter in what was a complete contrast to the pre-match downpour.

The conditions clearly favoured West Coast, who had Naitanui dominating in the ruck and the team’s midfielders feasting at ground level.

AAP/ABC



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NSW Swifts claim 73-72 Super Netball win over West Coast Fever as Sunshine Coast Lightning topple Collingwood Magpies



A Helen Housby goal with five seconds left has handed reigning Super Netball champions NSW Swifts a thrilling 73-72 victory over West Coast Fever.

The Swifts’ win followed the Lightning’s 51-47 triumph over Collingwood Magpies in the opening encounter of Sunday’s double-header at USC Stadium on the Sunshine Coast.

In a high-scoring affair, the Swifts produced another stunning third-quarter turnaround as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

After outscoring the Giants 21-13 in the third quarter on their way to victory in the opening round, the Swifts recovered from eight goals at half-time against the Fever with Sophie Garbin triggering a 27-11 third-quarter charge.

But the Swifts were again pushed all the way to the death, with Jhaniele Fowler sinking three super shots in the final Power Five period as the Fever closed an eight-goal gap in the final minutes.

After Alice Teague-Neeld levelled the scores in the final minute, the Fever forced two misses from the Swifts attackers in a tense finish until Housby calmly sealed the result with the final shot of the game.

With prolific goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler (53/58) in fine form, the Fever led by as many as 12 goals in the second quarter and appeared on track to open the season with back-to-back wins.

But Swifts coach Briony Akle’s decision to start Garbin in the second half proved a masterstroke. The 23-year-old made 21 of 23 shots as the defending champions swung the contest in their favour.

Housby also played a key role in her side’s comeback, with the Swifts taking better care of the ball after half-time while also forcing six Fever turnovers in the decisive third term.

Lightning defeat Magpies

Star attacker Steph Wood battled through injury to help inspire the Lightning to their four-goal victory over the Magpies.

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After sitting out the majority of the first half with a knee problem, Wood’s introduction triggered a third-quarter surge as the home side recorded their second win of the season.

A matchwinner for the Lightning in last week’s season opener against the Queensland Firebirds, the Australia international dropped out of the starting seven moments before the opening possession with a knee issue flaring during the warm-up.

But with Wood entering the game late the first half, the Lightning outscored Collingwood 16-9 in the third quarter to break open a tight defensive contest.

Langman was the driving force for the Lightning. The 34-year-old New Zealand international starred in midcourt with 30 feeds, 15 assists and two intercepts.

With goal shooter Shimona Nelson (32/37) playing her first game of the season, Collingwood capitalised on the Lightning’s late line-up change to grab an early 6-1 advantage.

As Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward impressed alongside veteran defender Geva Mentor, the Magpies took a five-goal lead closing in on half-time with goal attack Gabi Sinclair nailing the only successful super shot of the half.

But Wood’s introduction paid immediate dividends as she played her part in the final two goals to cut Collingwood’s half-time lead to three.

The Lightning made their move in the third quarter, Koenen nailing 14 of 15 shots to build a 37-33 lead before a 6-2 start to the fourth quarter put the game beyond Collingwood’s reach.

Sunshine Coast’s win sets up an intriguing round-three encounter with the Melbourne Vixens on Wednesday.

The Magpies face the Queensland Firebirds on Tuesday with both teams desperate to record their first win of the season.

AAP



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West Coast’s epic AFL win over Geelong sets the bar high as 2020 season edges towards finals


While we may have only just passed the halfway mark of the AFL’s home-and-away season, West Coast and Geelong gave a glimpse of what finals will resemble in this truncated and turbulent year of football.

In one of the best matches this season, the clash between the Eagles and Cats in Perth on Saturday night was one that highlighted the skilful nature of the two teams, despite a helter-skelter pace and unrelenting pressure.

It was tight, tense and captivating watching these powerful teams slug it out, with the Eagles prevailing by nine points.

The 2018 grand final hero Dom Sheed was a shining light for the Eagles with his accurate left foot and two important goals, Josh Kennedy booted four in another display that belied his veteran status, and Nic Naitanui was the architect of multiple West Coast assaults in a commanding ruck performance.

There was also Tim Kelly, who offered a glaring reminder to his former club of why they were desperate to keep him.

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For Geelong, Mitch Duncan underlined his importance as a calming influence and vital connector with his pin-point ball use, Tom Stewart was also at his damaging best in his second match back from injury, while Geelong 2011 premiership captain Cameron Ling must be impressed with the early signs shown by Brad Close, the second gamer who inherited his famous number 45.

While the Cats became only the second team this season to be overhauled when leading at three-quarter time, their performance — without Gary Ablett and captain Joel Selwood — was thoroughly impressive.

The Eagles have clearly shaken off their malaise in recent weeks to emerge as a premiership threat. But the Cats can’t be discounted either.

Lions are a flag threat

Brisbane’s rise up the table and return to September football was one of the stories of last season.

While the Lions ultimately bowed out with consecutive finals losses, this season they’re building a body of work that suggests a more productive flag tilt is imminent.

Brisbane’s 63-point win over Essendon was its biggest of 2020 and showed a huge gulf exists between the Bombers and the competition’s best sides.

Brisbane Lions AFL players celebrate in a group after a goal was kicked against Essendon.
The Lions are proving they are genuine premiership contenders.(AAP: Albert Perez)

Apart from an impressive round-five win over Collingwood, the Bombers have only beaten those on the bottom rungs of the ladder. Friday night was a chance to legitimise their place as a top-eight team, but they failed dismally.

A long injury list is unquestionably taking a toll and Essendon fans were rightly furious with some mind-boggling umpiring decisions, but the Lions were in a different league.

Speaking of mind boggling, the Bombers’ decision not to tag Brownlow Medal favourite Lachie Neale appeared foolish before the match and equally so in the aftermath.

Neale chalked up a match-high 33 disposals and kicked two goals to claim the three votes in the ABC Footballer of the Year. Dylan Clarke has proven his capabilities as a tagger but, oddly, is yet to be picked by the Bombers this season. On Friday night, it looked a costly omission.

Tigers regain their bite

Like Essendon, Richmond is missing key players through injury, but the Tigers have shown they not only have great depth, but a renewed hunger to defend their 2019 flag.

Wednesday night’s 41-point win over the Western Bulldogs kicked off the AFL’s “Festival of Footy” and the Tigers were in a festive mood as they produced their best performance of the year.

Emerging youngsters Jake Aarts and Noah Balta played key hands, with the latter earning the highest praise when he was likened to a young Alex Rance by his coach Damian Hardwick.

For the first time this season, Dustin Martin looked genuinely interested. Dusty went from coasting to carving in a dominant three-goal, 26-posession performance that should have opposition sides very nervous.

While Martin was back to his vintage best, it was awesome just to see Majak Daw back at all.

A North Melbourne AFL player watches the ball in front of him while surrounded by a teammate and an Adelaide opponent.
Majak Daw (centre) played his first AFL match in 706 days.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

Almost two years after his last senior AFL match, Daw returned for the Kangaroos in their clash with Adelaide and it could scarcely have been a greater celebration.

Daw, who suffered serious hip and pelvic injuries in a fall from Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge in December 2018, was engulfed by congratulatory teammates as he kicked a goal in the final quarter of the Roos’ 63-point triumph.

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It was a win for team and individual. North Melbourne ended a six-match losing streak and, in the process, kicked the highest score (119) of any side this season.

Conversely, it was ghastly for Adelaide and difficult to comprehend given the Crows had 10 players in their side on Saturday who lined up in the 2017 grand final.

Rookie coach Matthew Nicks felt compelled to used drink bottles to demonstrate basic team structures on the floor of the rooms at half-time. The coach has shown his bottle, it’s now for the players to find some too.



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Community spirit lifts as coronavirus stage four restrictions come down in Yarraville in Melbourne’s inner west


In Yarraville, Lee Smith-Moir has been delighting users of Cruickshank Park since creating her own version of the rainbow trail, with 20 flags to spot, in March.

One of the signs put up by Lee Smith-Moir.

One of the signs put up by Lee Smith-Moir.Credit:Facebook

From a fun facts educational trail to a Ministry of Silly Walks path, she has been setting up different activities to cheer up locals on their daily exercise.

“Every day, we get people saying it brightens their day … they say it gives them a laugh or ‘I learnt something really interesting,’ ” Ms Smith-Moir said.

“It’s become a little happy place at the edge of the park.”

The retiree even built a giant puzzle wall, filled with optical illusions and quizzes, on the side of her home that sits on the edge of the park.

A virtual tropical holiday photo booth decorated with palms and flamingoes attracted hundreds of locals a day over a weekend in April.

People pose in the virtual holiday photo booth.

People pose in the virtual holiday photo booth. Credit:Facebook

And her front garden has a frog-spotting game for children.

Ms Smith-Moir watches from her living room that looks onto part of the park as locals enjoy her creations.

“In the morning, I often wake up to kids at the fence. You can hear them talking and laughing and trying to do the puzzle,” she said.

“We don’t even notice being locked down because we’re having so much fun.

“We haven’t felt alone, we haven’t felt isolated at all. It makes us smile every day.”

Ms Smith-Moir has more plans in store for Cruickshank Park users and has created a Facebook group where she plans to put up signs Victorians can print out to put up in their own parks and neighbourhoods.

Public health specialist Charmaine Consul has come across many of Ms Smith-Moir’s activities while walking her dog, including a trail of signs last week that made her laugh.

She said some personal issues on top of the uncertainty of the pandemic had been getting her down.

“I was trundling along quite OK, but then I started to think I’m sick of staying in this house,” she said.

“[The activities] are very meaningful. It just takes your mind off it and you think about something else. It’s good to have a laugh. It’s really is lifting spirits.”

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Business

Developer Time & Place circles Mobil’s $52m West Gate site


A deal will be set at a land rate around $600 per square metre, suggesting a price near $52 million, but neither company would confirm details.

Mobil said it was cleaning up the land under an Environment Protection Authority remediation plan. “As such, we sought expressions of interest from parties who intend to develop this land,” the company said.

“Mobil is currently managing a tender process for the development of our parcel of land.”

Time & Place controls a diverse development portfolio ranging from residential and commercial office projects to retail and industrial subdivisions.

Founded by Tim Price, the platform is no stranger to Melbourne’s western industrial market, where it currently has several developments in progress. Mr Price would not comment on the transaction.

Two months ago, it sealed an acquisition with ASX-listed logistics operator Qube Holdings to take over a large 137,000-square-metre property in Francis Street, Brooklyn, for $65 million.

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Just before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the group sold a large office project in East Melbourne on Victoria Parade for $330 million in a fund-through arrangement to Singapore-based ARA Asset Management.

Along with joint venture partner Jeff Xu’s Golden Age Group, it will manage that development through to completion.

Mobil’s bill for remediation of the Spotswood site is likely to run into millions of dollars, chewing up a significant portion of funds the company will net from the transaction.

The fuel refiner began remediation of the site in 2014, razing the above-ground petro-chemical infrastructure and removing piping, storage tanks, warehouses and office buildings.

The visibility of the high-volume storage tanks to many thousands of commuters crossing the 2.5-kilometre West Gate Bridge was a reminder of the inner west’s fast-changing industrial past.

The property is listed on the EPA’s latest polluted sites register, meaning it is subject to a legally enforceable clean-up or pollution abatement notice.

The freshly cleared land in Simcock Avenue, just a few kilometres from the city’s shipping docks, is likely to be carved up into smaller industrial allotments, developed with warehouse offices and sold or leased to multiple users.

Time & Place is completing a 16.7-hectare Williams Point industrial development in Maddox Road in Williamstown North this year and has another 21.5-hectare site at 16 – 36 Dohertys Road, Laverton North, under construction.

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West Coast Eagles beat Geelong by nine points as Majak Daw makes winning AFL return with North Melbourne


Nic Naitanui has played a starring role to help the West Coast Eagles post a nine-point comeback victory against Geelong in Perth.

The home side trailed by 21 points early in the third quarter of Saturday night’s match but booted five of the final six goals to secure the 11.7 (73) to 10.4 (64) win in front of 26,211 spectators.

The Eagles’ win followed an emotional day on the the other side of the country, with North Melbourne’s Majak Daw making a winning return to the AFL on the Gold Coast.

Daw had not played an AFL match since late 2018 and he helped the Kangaroos defeat Adelaide by 69 points.

Also on Saturday, St Kilda recorded a third consecutive win for the first time in more than three years with a thumping 53-point victory over injury-hit Sydney.

In Perth, Eagles spearhead Josh Kennedy booted two vital goals in the pulsating final quarter to finish with four for the match.

Tim Kelly tallied 23 disposals and five clearances in his first match against the Cats since leaving the club at the end of last year.

Dom Sheed was also exceptional with two goals and six clearances from his 24 disposals.

But it was Naitanui who had the biggest influence on the match, despite tallying just nine disposals and failing to take a mark.

A significant portion of Naitanui’s 34 hit-outs fell in the lap of his midfield troops, leading to several crucial goals.

His bullocking work at ground level was also vital in helping turn the midfield battle West Coast’s way in the second half.

The result moves West Coast into fourth spot with a 6-3 record, while Geelong (5-4) are sixth.

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West Coast booted the first goal of the match within 12 seconds courtesy of a great ruck tap from Naitanui and a mark from Kennedy in the square.

The Cats won the inside 50 count 11-6 to take a six-point lead into the first break, but they deserved more for their dominance.

The visitors threatened to break away in the second term as the lead grew to 22 points, but a late goal to Sheed ensured the damage was not too great.

Geelong were forced to defend grimly for long periods of the second half as West Coast launched wave after wave of attack.

The Cats were clinging to a two-point lead early in the final quarter when the goal review system took centre stage.

Geelong’s Sam Simpson celebrated a goal despite his kick coming off his knee.

Replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball touched his boot after coming off his knee, meaning the goal umpire’s original decision of a goal stood.

A centimetre-perfect Naitanui ruck tap a short time later helped Kennedy score his third goal, and the Eagles were in front when Jack Darling kicked truly at the 12-minute mark.

The next 10 minutes was full of frenzied excitement as players from both sides threw everything at the contest.

The sealer did not come until the final minute, when Kennedy kicked his fourth.

Daw completes inspiring AFL comeback

Daw, playing in his first AFL match in more than 700 days after suffering serious hip and pelvic injuries in a fall from Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge in December 2018, was the focus in Carrara as the Kangaroos claimed a 19.5 (119) to 7.8 (50) win.

The 29-year-old provided the highlight of the victory when he kicked a goal in the final term, with every one of his teammates coming to jump all over him in celebration.

Daw finished with eight disposals, four marks and his goal.

A North Melbourne AFL player watches the ball in front of him while surrounded by a teammate and an Adelaide opponent.
Majak Daw (centre) kicked a goal in his first AFL match in almost two years.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

North Melbourne’s victory ends a six-match losing run and leaves winless Adelaide stranded at the bottom of the ladder.

The Kangaroos’ tally of 119 is also the highest score by a team in 2020, eclipsing West Coast’s 111 against Collingwood in round eight.

The Crows’ unwanted club-record losing run is now at 12 and it will be more than a year since their last AFL win when they take to Adelaide Oval to play Melbourne on Wednesday.

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Daw did not take long to make an impact on the match, playing a key role in the build-up to the opening goal scored by Luke Davies-Uniacke.

That score sent the Kangaroos on their way as they kicked four goals to none in the opening term.

Adelaide made an attempt at a comeback in the second term but a flurry of three goals at the end of the half ensured North had extended their margin to 34 points by the main break.

Saints hand Swans heavy loss

Tough midfielder Zak Jones starred for the Saints against his old side with 21 disposals and six clearances in the 15.11 (101) to 6.12 (48) triumph at the Gabba.

The Swans had no answer to St Kilda’s superior run and slick ball use after half-time as Jack Steele (24 disposals), Jade Gresham (23) and Jack Billings (19) racked up possessions through the midfield.

Emerging key forward Max King and Nick Hind both kicked three goals as Dan Butler, Josh Battle and Gresham chipped in with two each.

It was the first time the Saints had managed a triple-figure score this season.

A St Kilda AFL player is hugged around his shoulders by a teammate as they celebrate a goal against Sydney.
Zak Jones (right) was impressive for the Saints in their win over the Swans.(AAP: Albert Perez)

Luke Parker (26 disposals and five clearances) and James Rowbottom (16 and seven) worked hard for the Swans and Tom McCartin finished with three goals.

Tom Papley, the Coleman Medal leader heading into round nine, managed just one goal under Ben Paton’s watch.

The only real sour note for St Kilda was a calf injury that led to Seb Ross’s late withdrawal before the bounce.

Ross had missed just one match in five seasons and was replaced by Shane Savage, who had 14 disposals in his first senior appearance of 2020.

AAP/ABC



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The West Coast Eagles are the bookies’ favourite for the AFL flag, and it’s hard to argue against that


If a week is a long time in politics, a month is an eternity in football.

On June 27, West Coast slumped to a 48-point thrashing at the hands of Port Adelaide, its third straight loss, and questions were being asked about the club’s approach to being in the Gold Coast hub.

They had failed to kick more than six goals in a game for three straight weeks and had won just one quarter of football in that time.

Since then, they have surged to AFL premiership favouritism and fourth spot on the ladder, winning four straight matches by an average of 40 points.

Nic Naitanui gets a ride above a large pack of players, including Adelaide's Reilly O'Brien
Nic Naitanui (centre) and the rest of West Coast’s highly regarded midfield have spread their wings.(AAP: Darren England)

On Sunday, they booted the highest score by any side this season, kicking 111 points, and kept Collingwood to its second-lowest score of the year.

“We were really concerned after the three losses we had. The identity of our side was a little bit off,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said after the win.

“I really thought our players really took ownership. Our leadership, from the older guys to the guys coming through, really stepped up.

“I don’t know where we’re at in terms of the competition, but I feel like we’ve caught up a little bit, more than anything.

“It goes from being crisis to flag favourites.”

Big guns hit stride with friendly run ahead

The Eagles have restricted sides to six goals or less in their last four outings, with their midfield, led by Tim Kelly and Nic Naitanui, beginning to gel.

Adding to what can only be a buoyant mood for West Coast is the resurgent form of Josh Kennedy.

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The veteran spearhead kicked four goals against Fremantle a week ago, and followed that effort up with seven majors against the Magpies.

With the limited view of how the AFL season will play out, it’s hard to see any immediate hurdles awaiting the Eagles.

Oscar Allen is patted on the backside by Tom Cole. Elliot Yeo and Tim Kelly smile
The Eagles are smiling, and for good reason.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

They will play at least three more games at Perth Stadium, against Geelong, Carlton and a struggling Hawthorn, and could be in Perth for even longer depending on the situation on the east coast.

Indeed, West Coast will likely continue to improve.

Kennedy’s fellow key forward, Jack Darling, has kicked goals in each of his past four matches but appears a little off his best, while defender Jeremy McGovern will return at some point from a thumb injury

The Eagles are the bookies’ favourite, and it’s hard to argue against that, especially if WA snags the grand final.



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West Coast Eagles flog Collingwood by 66, Brisbane pips Melbourne, Essendon keeps Adelaide winless


Josh Kennedy has booted seven goals for West Coast, who flexed its AFL premiership credentials with a crushing 66-point win over Collingwood.

The Eagles trailed by 20 points late in Sunday’s opening term, but booted 17 of the next 18 goals on the way to the 18.3 (111) to 6.9 (45) victory in front of 24,824 fans.

Kennedy kicked four first-half goals before finishing with a perfect 7.0 in a sparkling display.

And it wasn’t as though his goals came in simple fashion, with most of them coming from tight angles or long distance.

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West Coast’s Nic Naitanui outpointed Brodie Grundy in the crucial ruck battle, while star recruit Tim Kelly (30 disposals, six clearances, one goal) shone through the midfield in his best game for the club.

There was plenty of drama before the match as West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern (thumb) and Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury (tight quad) were both ruled out.

Pendlebury’s scratching was so late that his replacement Atu Bosenavulagi was still warming up after the opening bounce.

Magpies big man Darcy Cameron was a shining light in the first term, booting two goals to help give the visitors a 14-point edge at quarter-time.

But Kennedy’s powerful marking proved too hot to handle for Collingwood defenders Jordan Roughead and Darcy Moore, with his three goals early swinging momentum West Coast’s way.

The third quarter became a blood bath as the Eagles booted 6.0 to Collingwood’s 0.3.

Kennedy kicked his fifth, while young forwards Oscar Allan and Jake Waterman bagged two goals each for the quarter.

The margin was 44 points at the final change, and there was no coming back for the Magpies.

Demons throw everything at Brisbane but fall short

Brisbane has overcome a late charge from Melbourne to claim a narrow four-point win over the Demons.

The Lions racked up their sixth win of the season with the 7.11 (53) to 7.7 (49) victory on Sunday night at Carrara Stadium.

Eric Hipwood smiles widely while high-tenning Cam Rayner
The Lions held off a late Melbourne challenge to claim the points.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

With ruckman Stef Martin sidelined due to a stress fracture in his back, Oscar McInerney and the inexperienced Archie Smith were tasked with stopping three-time All-Australian Max Gawn.

Rather than going one-on-one with Gawn, however, the Lions allowed the Demons’ big man to dominate the hit-outs only to smash Melbourne in the clearances.

While Gawn won 41 hit-outs, with 15 of them to advantage, the Lions claimed the clearance battle 35 to 22.

That allowed influential midfielders Lachie Neale, Hugh McCluggage and Dayne Zorko to run the game for the Lions.

Neale picked up 33 disposals, while Jarryd Lyons had nine tackles for the Lions.

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Charlie Cameron kicked two goals, including one on the run in the third quarter which came moments after Harley Bennell had missed a golden opportunity at the other end for the Demons.

Despite being down by 18 points at three-quarter time, the Demons set up a grandstand finish with a dominant final term but just could not get their noses in front.

Clayton Oliver had 28 touches and 10 tackles for the Demons, while Jake Melksham kicked three goals and Bayley Fritsch booted two.

Melbourne’s powerful ball-winner Christian Petracca continued his fine recent form with 24 disposals, eight tackles and five inside 50s.

Crows still winless as Bombers hold on for narrow win

Zach Merrett’s midfield mastery has helped Essendon to a gritty three-point triumph against Adelaide in Sunday’s AFL match.

Merrett collected 33 disposals in the 9.8 (62) to 8.11 (59) victory at Adelaide Oval which lifts the Bombers to fifth on the ladder.

Matt Crouch bleeds from between his eyes as he grapples with Jacob Townsend
The Crows gave the Bombers a fright, but Essendon held on for a three-point win.(AAP: David Mariuz)

The Crows remain winless — their club-record losing streak extends to 11 games across two seasons.

Adelaide’s acting captain Tom Doedee and prime mover Brad Crouch both suffered hamstring injuries during the game.

Essendon’s Merrett was a standout in his club’s fifth win of the season, heading a dominant midfield featuring Ashley McGrath (25 possessions) and David Zaharakis (20 touches).

Teammates Darcy Parish (22 disposals, one goal) was also prominent, while Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Kyle Langford and Ned Cahill each booted two goals.

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Adelaide half-back Will Hamill (17 disposals) continued his impressive first AFL season and forwards Lachlan Murphy (three goals) and Taylor Walker (two) threatened.

Crows on-baller Ben Keays (22 disposals), Paul Seedsman (22 touches, one goal) and Brodie Smith (24 possessions) also were influential.

Adelaide’s Matt Crouch and Essendon’s Jacob Townsend were both reported for rough conduct when tangling moments after the half-time siren.

The pair faced off and were pulling each other’s jumpers when their heads clashed.

The altercation came as the Bombers, despite losing attacker Jayden Laverde to a leg injury, took a seven-point lead after a scrappy opening half.

Both teams scored three goals in a tight third term — the Bombers crafted a 17-point buffer before late majors to the Crows left them only six points adrift at the last change.

Essendon’s Cahill slotted his second goal to extend the margin to 12 points before Adelaide’s Murphy responded in the 17th minute with what proved to be the final goal of the game.

The Crows had a series of late scoring chances to pinch victory but Murphy, Seedsman and Smith all could not convert.

AAP



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West Coast Eagles flog Collingwood by 66, winless Adelaide lose to Essendon by three points


Josh Kennedy has booted seven goals for West Coast, who flexed its AFL premiership credentials with a crushing 66-point win over Collingwood.

The Eagles trailed by 20 points late in Sunday’s opening term, but booted 17 of the next 18 goals on the way to the 18.3 (111) to 6.9 (45) victory in front of 24,824 fans.

Kennedy kicked four first-half goals before finishing with a perfect 7.0 in a sparkling display.

And it wasn’t as though his goals came in simple fashion, with most of them coming from tight angles or long distance.

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West Coast’s Nic Naitanui outpointed Brodie Grundy in the crucial ruck battle, while star recruit Tim Kelly (30 disposals, six clearances, one goal) shone through the midfield in his best game for the club.

There was plenty of drama before the match as West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern (thumb) and Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury (tight quad) were both ruled out.

Pendlebury’s scratching was so late that his replacement Atu Bosenavulagi was still warming up after the opening bounce.

Magpies big man Darcy Cameron was a shining light in the first term, booting two goals to help give the visitors a 14-point edge at quarter-time.

But Kennedy’s powerful marking proved too hot to handle for Collingwood defenders Jordan Roughead and Darcy Moore, with his three goals early swinging momentum West Coast’s way.

The third quarter became a blood bath as the Eagles booted 6.0 to Collingwood’s 0.3.

Kennedy kicked his fifth, while young forwards Oscar Allan and Jake Waterman bagged two goals each for the quarter.

The margin was 44 points at the final change, and there was no coming back for the Magpies.

Crows still winless as Bombers hold on for narrow win

Zach Merrett’s midfield mastery has helped Essendon to a gritty three-point triumph against Adelaide in Sunday’s AFL match.

Merrett collected 33 disposals in the 9.8 (62) to 8.11 (59) victory at Adelaide Oval which lifts the Bombers to fifth on the ladder.

Matt Crouch bleeds from between his eyes as he grapples with Jacob Townsend
The Crows gave the Bombers a fright, but Essendon held on for a three-point win.(AAP: David Mariuz)

The Crows remain winless — their club-record losing streak extends to 11 games across two seasons.

Adelaide’s acting captain Tom Doedee and prime mover Brad Crouch both suffered hamstring injuries during the game.

Essendon’s Merrett was a standout in his club’s fifth win of the season, heading a dominant midfield featuring Ashley McGrath (25 possessions) and David Zaharakis (20 touches).

Teammates Darcy Parish (22 disposals, one goal) was also prominent, while Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Kyle Langford and Ned Cahill each booted two goals.

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Adelaide half-back Will Hamill (17 disposals) continued his impressive first AFL season and forwards Lachlan Murphy (three goals) and Taylor Walker (two) threatened.

Crows on-baller Ben Keays (22 disposals), Paul Seedsman (22 touches, one goal) and Brodie Smith (24 possessions) also were influential.

Adelaide’s Matt Crouch and Essendon’s Jacob Townsend were both reported for rough conduct when tangling moments after the half-time siren.

The pair faced off and were pulling each other’s jumpers when their heads clashed.

The altercation came as the Bombers, despite losing attacker Jayden Laverde to a leg injury, took a seven-point lead after a scrappy opening half.

Both teams scored three goals in a tight third term — the Bombers crafted a 17-point buffer before late majors to the Crows left them only six points adrift at the last change.

Essendon’s Cahill slotted his second goal to extend the margin to 12 points before Adelaide’s Murphy responded in the 17th minute with what proved to be the final goal of the game.

The Crows had a series of late scoring chances to pinch victory but Murphy, Seedsman and Smith all could not convert.

AAP



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