Sport AFL Eagles thrash Dockers in AFL pre-season

Eagles thrash Dockers in AFL pre-season

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New West Coast coach Adam Simpson predicted a messy start to his time in the hot seat.

But the only thing messy was the final margin as the Eagles recorded a thumping 84-point AFL victory over Fremantle in Tuesday’s pre-season clash at Arena Joondalup.

The game was effectively over midway through the second term after the Eagles raced to a 85-13 lead in front of 10,737 fans.

Fremantle were missing five players who appeared in last year’s grand final, plus Matthew Pavlich and Luke McPharlin sat out the opening half.

But the nature of the 2.20.10 (148) to 0.10.4 (64) defeat would no doubt be of concern to coach Ross Lyon.

The Dockers struggled to work the ball out of defence, and many of their contested efforts were second-rate.

In contrast, West Coast looked slick and hungry in their first outing under Simpson, who took over as coach from John Worsfold at the end of last season.

In an added blow to the Dockers, forward Hayden Ballantyne limped off late.

And midfielder David Mundy might come under scrutiny from the match review panel after unleashing a front-on bump that left Eagles defender Mitch Brown momentarily dazed.

West Coast picked a strong team for the match, with only Nic Naitanui (groin), Beau Waters (shoulder) and Andrew Gaff (tooth) missing from their best outfit.

New Eagles recruit Xavier Ellis ran amok through the midfield and across half-back, while Chris Masten, Jack Darling, Mark LeCras, Matt Priddis, Sharrod Wellingham and Jamie Cripps also starred.

Lachie Neale tried hard for the Dockers and defender Michael Johnson did his best to try to stem the damage, but there was no stopping a rampant West Coast outfit.

New Dockers recruits Colin Sylvia and Scott Gumbleton were barely sighted.

The Eagles were dominant from the outset, piling on the opening four goals of the match – including two super goals – before ending the first term with a 59-13 advantage.

Ellis had six disposals in the first six minutes, while Masten booted three goals in the opening term as West Coast made the most of a handy breeze.

Fremantle needed a fast start to the second term if they were to work their way back into the contest.

But West Coast’s frenzied pressure was telling as the Eagles booted the first four goals of the quarter to all but seal the win.

The inside-50m count told the story at half-time, with West Coast winning the vital stat 38-12.

Even the injection of McPharlin and Pavlich after half-time barely made a difference, although the Dockers got some junk-time goals in the final quarter to reduce some of the damage.

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