Eagles Prevail In Scrappy Contest

West Coast: 0.8 0.12 2.16 5.21 (51)
Hawthorn: 0.4 2.7 3.13 5.16 (46)

West Coast have held on in what was a sloppy but incredibly tense contest, defeating the Hawks by five points at Subiaco.

It was one of the most inaccurate contests in recent memory, with the two teams combining for 10 goals and 37 behinds – an overall conversion rate of 21.2% in front of goal.

The rain during the first quarter didn’t make things easy, but it was so difficult to convert in front of goal that West Coast were goalless to half-time – the first team to be victorious in doing so since Adelaide in Round 18 2004 over North Melbourne.

Eagles emerge victorious - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyharris/

In fact, Hawthorn led for the majority of the match, including by seven points at half-time and three at three-quarter time, until Jack Darling was able to nail a set shot and then a long bomb on the run, both from outside 50, to extend the lead in the last.

Daniel Kerr capped off a dominant performance, featuring 33 disposals, 14 of them contested, and nine clearances, by snapping a quick goal out of a contest halfway through the last quarter to extend the lead to a game-high 18 points.

Then it was Cyril Rioli’s turn to change the game, kicking two goals – one along the ground from the boundary, another from a contested mark – to drag the margin back to within a goal, but Hawthorn simply could not get it forward effectively.

The scrummy contest near the end with back-and-forth ineffective kicks summarised the entire match – it was a slippery contest, full of fumbling, with neither team scoring a goal in the opening quarter.

Lance Franklin in particular was the epitome of how difficult it was, recording 1.6 for the night amongst six frees given away.

He was towelled up by Eric Mackenzie, who tallied 27 disposals and 11 marks playing on the 2008 Coleman medallist. Also impressive in the backline was Beau Waters with 26 disposals and 10 marks, as was Kerr and Scott Selwood (26 disposals, seven clearances) through the middle.

They had full support in the ruck – Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui combined for 48 hit-outs, 32 disposals and seven clearances between them to assert themselves on the match over a weakened Hawks ruck combination.

Their best player was Sam Mitchell, who kept fighting to end up with 29 disposals, 14 contested, nine tackles and six clearances. Brad Sewell’s inside work was great again, with 25 disposals, 13 contested,  six tackles and six clearances.

But the return of some accuracy in the last for the Eagles was simply too much to overcome from a surprisingly inefficient Hawthorn.

Votes:
3 – Daniel Kerr (WC)
2 – Eric Mackenzie (WC)
1 – Sam Mitchell (Haw)

Goals:
West Coast: Darling 2, Kerr, Hill, Kennedy
Hawthorn: Rioli 2, Franklin, Osborne, Lewis

Best:
West Coast: Kerr, Mackenzie, Darling, Naitanui, Selwood
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Sewell, Lewis, Gibson, Suckling

Injuries:
West Coast: Shuey (collarbone)
Hawthorn: Birchall (knee) replaced in selected side by Bruce

Substitutes:
West Coast: Patrick McGinnity replaced Quinten Lynch in the final quarter
Hawthorn: Bradley Hill replaced David Hale in the final quarter

Reports: TBC

Umpires: Dalgleish, Meredith, Findlay

Official crowd: 40,080 at Patersons Stadium

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