West Coast’s formidable forward line has kicked the Eagles back into the top two of the AFL ladder with an impressive 20-point win over Richmond at the MCG.
The league’s top scorers arrested the Tigers winning streak at four with a 13.12 (90) to 10.10 (70) victory.
Josh Kennedy, Mark LeCras, Nic Naitanui, Jack Darling and Jamie Cripps all kicked multiple goals in the win, which ensures a West Australian-lockout at the top of the league.
Richmond were valiant, riding waves of momentum to challenge the Eagles throughout the evening.
But West Coast had the Tigers’ number, holding them goalless in the last quarter to take four points from their only scheduled trip to the MCG this season.
The Eagles threatened to kick away in both the first and second quarters before the Tigers upped their ferocity.
Naitanui spurred West Coast in the first quarter, dominating in the ruck and showing his attacking talents.
He took his domination of Richmond ruck Ivan Maric to ground level, squeezing the ball from his opposite number and kicking a goal out of the air to push the Eagles up by 14.
Back came the Tigers, with two time-on goals to reduce the margin to one.
The run of Andrew Gaff and Chris Masten wrested back control for West Coast, with Richmond struggling with their defensive setup.
Dom Sheed kick a set shot goal across the line at waist-height with no Tigers in attention, with the game firmly on the Eagles’ terms.
Again Richmond found their way back into the contest through Dustin Martin’s boot.
Martin, whose first-term goals against the run of play kept the Tigers in it, snapped an astonishing checkside goal from outside 50 metres for his third major of the night.
Finding themselves surprisingly behind at the main change, the Eagles third-term burst was decisive.
Kennedy emerged to stamp his authority on the match, helping West Coast to kick clear.
The 27-year-old moved further ahead in the race for the Coleman medal, finishing with three goals.
Richmond again finished the quarter strongest but too often the Tigers couldn’t break through West Coast’s defensive wall which was well-marshalled by Jeremy McGovern.