West Coast pair Mark LeCras and Josh Kennedy have combined for seven goals to help the Eagles cruise to a 50-point AFL win over Essendon at Domain Stadium.
The Eagles never looked in danger against a struggling Bombers side still reeling from last weekend’s dreadful performance in which they failed to kick a first half goal.
The 14.12 (96) to 6.10 (46) win lifted the Eagles (8-3) back to second on the ladder while the Bombers (4-8) are teetering in 13th following their fifth loss in six matches.
LeCras was outstanding with 21 disposals and four goals while Coleman Medal favourite Kennedy chipped in with three.
Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis (32 disposals) and youngster Andrew Gaff (33 disposals) were among the Eagles’ midfielders to capitalise on the dominance of ruckman Nic Naitanui against Essendon pinch-hitters Jake Carlisle and Joe Daniher.
Key defender Jeremy McGovern battled thigh and hand injuries to be an important contributor for West Coast before being subbed out at the final change with the result all but sealed.
A scrappy first half saw both teams wrestle for control by repeatedly throwing all players into their defensive halves and it did not make for pretty viewing.
Essendon could only manage four scoring shots in the opening half and at one point skipper Jobe Watson vented at his teammates when he had to backtrack because there were no Bombers inside their forward 50.
Goals to LeCras, Kennedy and Callum Sinclair shortly before half-time gave the Eagles a comfortable 29-point buffer.
The Bombers took it up to the Eagles after the break but wasted at least four opportunities to cut back the home side’s lead until an unmarked Jake Melksham scored his team’s first goal in more than a quarter.
But the Eagles refused to panic and regained control courtesy of goals to Naitanui and the returning Jack Darling.
Brendon Goddard drifted forward late in the third term to register a much-needed goal for the Bombers but any hope of an unlikely fightback was snuffed out when Kennedy and LeCras combined for three goals inside the first five minutes of the final quarter.