NORTH MELBOURNE 5.1 9.3 11.5 13.6 (84)
WEST COAST 3.2 4.6 8.8 12.14 (86)
An eight goal to four second half has inspired the Eagles to claim a late victory over a brave Kangaroos side in Tasmania.
The Eagles were jumped at the opening bounce, with North Melbourne dominating proceedings and quickly gaining a strong lead. Midway through the second term, they lead by six goals, and it seemed that another shocking upset was going to rock the standings on the ladder.
But two of the Eagles’ best and most experienced in Dean Cox and Matthew Priddis were determined not to let a spot in the top four slip away.
Cox was incredible, further solidifying his standing as one of the great ruckmen of the modern era. He gathered 21 disposals, kicked three goals, had the most hitouts of anyone on the ground (24) and was the difference between the two sides. When the intensity lifted in the last quarter, when North Melbourne responded to the Eagles’ charge, he stood up and delivered four points for his side.
Cox was assisted by Priddis, who worked tirelessly. His efforts in the final term were brilliant, finishing with 34 disposals including 21 contested.
It will a bitter loss for the Kangaroos, who will realise that if not for the form of those two, they would now be a game clear in eighth spot. Instead, the loss compounds what has been a frustrating and inconsistent season.
They will take solace from the fact that in two meetings against the Eagles they have looked competitive and have had several opportunities to win both games as they move onto a meeting with a revived Blues side next round.
North Melbourne: Tarrant 4, Harvey 3, Thomas 3, Hansen, Swallow, Ziebell
West Coast: Cox 3, Lynch 3, Darling 2, Hill, Kerr, Masten, Priddis,
North Melbourne: Swallow, Harvey, Tarrant, Grima, McMahon, Atley
West Coast: Cox, Priddis, Kerr, Naitanui, Schofield, Lynch, Shuey
North Melbourne: Nil
West Coast: Nil
North Melbourne: Lachlan Hansen replaced by Kieran Harper in the fourth quarter
West Coast: Murray Newman replaced by Koby Stevens in the third quarter
Umpires: Stewart, Jeffery, Mollison
Official crowd: 14,113 at Blundstone Arena