Sport AFL West Coast maul Lions to kick off season 2016
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West Coast maul Lions to kick off season 2016

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The West Coast Eagles have made a flying start to 2016, crushing a woeful Brisbane by 64 points at Subiaco Oval.

Led by Brownlow Medalist Matt Priddis, spearhead Josh Kennedy and ruck star Nic Naitanui, the Eagles won 26.10 (166) to 15.12 (102).

Naitanui was brilliant around the ground, amassing 46 hit-outs and kicking two goals, while Priddis brought his own footy – picking up 43 disposals.

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Kennedy, the Coleman Medalist, took 16 marks, booting eight goals, and gave off at least four to his teammates.

For Brisbane, Daniel Rich, Tom Rockliff and Allen Christensen battled manfully, while debutant Josh Schache – the number two draft pick – kicked two goals.

West Coast led by 14 points at the first change, but would have been far from happy with their efforts in a sloppy start.

When Jeremy McGovern soccered out of mid-air in the shadows of quarter time the Eagles were up by 20, but a set-shot from Schache kept the visitors in touch.

The usual suspects for West Coast were busy in the opening term, with Kennedy kicking three goals, while Priddis and Naitanui were in the thick of it.

But there were concerns around McGovern’s shoulder, the saga of which is starting to assume Tolstoy-esque proportions.

The swing man laid a bump early on and the troublesome joint had to be treated in the rooms before he resumed.

The margin had blown out to 39 points at the long break, with goals from Jamie Bennell, Kennedy, Jack Redden, Jack Darling and two from Jamie Cripps putting West Coast in complete control.

Christensen’s third stemmed the bleeding, as did Lewis Taylor’s second, but Brisbane were relying on too few.

The procession continued early in the third quarter, with Cripps’ third major taking the lead out to 45 points.

Brisbane briefly found some ticker with goals from Rockliff, Schache and a beauty on the run from Rich giving them a lift.

But that was the last bright spot for the Lions, and the Eagles surged again – goals from Xavier Ellis, Mark LeCras and Naitanui snuffing out whatever puff of doubt remained about the result.

When the sides turned for home, West Coast led by 50 points.

Kennedy started the final term with three quick goals to blow the margin out again, but Brisbane didn’t roll over.

Late goals from Taylor, Pearce Hanley and Rich helped keep some respectability in the score.

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