AFL Round 22: Eagles end season with a walk in the park

The last round of the season has come upon us, which is always sad for supporters, especially the ones who barrack for bottom eight sides. This game is one that means nothing: 12th v 15th.  

After a long week at school I’m looking forward to the game. It gets under way, and it’s a pretty good start. The Eagles get a very quick clearance, but Lynch hits the post as a result. McMahon runs inside 50 and drills the first of the game. McKinley marks and goals, Ebert kicks another. LeCras crumbs and snaps a magnificent goal, and the improving Eagles are 16 points in front. From the clearance, the Eagles bang the ball forward, Hurn grabs it and kicks a thumping goal from 55 out on the perimeter piping, for one of the goals of the year. The Eagles begin to dominate. It’s a relaxing game to watch. They just miss a few set shots on goal. At quarter time, they hold a comfortable 23-point lead over the visitors, 4.8 32 to 1.3 9. It’s Ben Cousins’ Richmond number v Ben Cousins’ West Coast number, my brother and I notice. Spangher has nine touches for West Coast, and Cousins leads with nine for Richmond.

The second quarter gets under way and Polo walks the ball through for a rushed behind. The crowd appeal and get their wish. LeCras kicks a goal. Richmond desperately needs to reply. Deledio does just that with a thumping goal from 60. Polak somehow manages to kick a goal, with the help of the luckiest bounce in history. Tuck runs in and kicks a goal, and it’s back to 11 points. The Tigers still don’t look comfortable. A couple of kick-in infringements occur, but West Coast can’t capitalise. They miss some more shots. LeCras finally shows everyone how to do it, by kicking his third. Staker kicks a goal, Kennedy does likewise and Embley snaps a goal. This could turn ugly. Edwards dribbles through a much needed one and the siren sounds, 9.14 68 to 5.5 35 in the Eagles’ favour. Adam Selwood has 14 touches for West Coast, the retiring Fletcher 12, and Cousins has 18 for Richmond. The inside 50s and 30-16 and tackles are 47-29, both in West Coast’s favour.

The third quarter begins and Staker kicks another for West Coast. Staker gets the ball again on a tight angle. He threads the needle from the pocket for his third. I love the West Coast forward line. Swift, who has improved greatly over the past few weeks, kicks a good goal off one step. Naitanui does some amazing ruck work. Spangher, who is playing his best game ever, bursts through the pack and goals. Lynch kicks a long bomb from 65, which was never in doubt. Simmonds marks and kicks Richmond’s only score for the quarter, a behind. McKinley snaps a goal, and the Eagles are 12 goals in front at the break, 15.18 108 to 5.6 36. Priddis leads with 21 touches for West Coast, Swift has 20, and for Richmond, Cousins and Deledio have 23 each.

The last quarter begins, and it looks like the Eagles are slowing the game down. But LeCras snaps a brilliant goal, which brings the house down. Morton kicks the Tigers’ first since the second quarter, to bring the margin back to 70. LeCras steals marks a kick in and runs in to kick his fifth. The crowd cheer loudly for Chad Fletcher, who’s playing a good game. They want him to kick a goal. Neither team kick another goal for the rest of the game. The siren sounds, and the Eagles win by a huge 80 points, 17.23 125 to 6.9 45. Swift, Priddis and Adam Selwood all end with 26 touches, while Cousins and Deledio end up with 28 each.

The last West Coast win of that margin that I remember is West Coast’s 82-point win over Adelaide in 2006. Nick Naitanui’s kick-to-handball ratio for his career is 15-83, after a kick-less but great game. Just for the moment, life is a walk in the park for the Eagles.

West Coast  4.8  9.14  15.18  17.23 (125)
Richmond  1.3  5.5  5.6  6.9 (45)

West Coast: Kennedy 5, Staker 3, McKinley 2, Lynch, Swift, Ebert, Embley, Kennedy, Hurn, Spangher.
Richmond: Deledio, Polak, Tuck, Riewoldt, Morton, McMahon.

West Coast: Spangher, Swift, LeCras, Mackenzie, Hurn, Rosa, Glass, Fletcher, Lynch, Embley, Priddis, Naitanui.
Richmond: Cousins, Deledio.

My Votes: 3. Matthew Spangher (WC), 2. Tom Swift (WC), 1. Mark LeCras (WC).

Umpires: James, Grun, H. Ryan.                                                Crowd : 39,017 at Subiaco.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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