West Coast broke their western derby hoodoo and boosted their top-two hopes in the process with a shock 24-point win over Fremantle in Sunday’s clash at Domain Stadium.
The injury-hit Eagles entered the match having lost 15 of the past 19 derbies, including the past six.
But a six-goal blitz inside the opening 15 minutes and a four-goal haul to Ross Glendinning medallist Josh Hill helped set up the 15.14 (104) to 11.14 (80) victory, despite the absence of star trio Nic Naitanui, Jeremy McGovern, and Mark LeCras.
Dockers defender Alex Silvagni faces the prospect of missing the start of the finals after being reported for a crude elbow on Jamie Cripps midway through the second quarter.
Cripps was left with an injured jaw after copping the swinging elbow from Silvagni in an incident that occurred 80m off the ball.
The young Eagles forward was clearly distressed while being assessed on the bench, but he managed to return in the third quarter.
West Coast defender Will Schofield might also be set for a stint on the sidelines after being subbed out with a knee injury in the third term.
Sunday’s result means West Coast edges ahead 22-20 in the western derby ledger, but more importantly it puts them in the box seat to nail down second spot.
The Eagles will seal second spot if they beat the Bulldogs (home), Adelaide (away), and St Kilda (home) in the final three rounds.
Fremantle are still likely to win the minor premiership despite their slip-up.
The Dockers dominated the second half on the back of Nat Fyfe’s brilliance and Aaron Sandilands’ ruck dominance.
But West Coast managed to snare enough goals against the run of play to secure an overdue victory against their arch rivals.
West Coast were keen to make a fast start to the match after conceding the first 11 goals in their round-three derby loss.
And their wishes were answered as key forwards Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling weaved their magic early.
The star spearheads pulled down a series of big marks and kicked one goal each to give West Coast a 44-9 edge at the first break.
Fyfe tallied just two disposals in the opening quarter, but the Brownlow medal favourite shot to prominence in the second half as he, David Mundy, and Sandilands willed their side into the match.
Fremantle closed the margin from 41 points down to 17 late in the match.
But a late goal to Darling sealed the deal in front of 41,959 fans.