30/05/2024

The spectacular feats of Harley Reid were on full show in Derby 58. Image: West Coast Eagles/ X

A re-energised West Coast has carried last week’s maiden win over Richmond, by ruthlessly out pressuring Fremantle, to record a convincing 37-point win at Optus Stadium, ending a five-game losing streak to its crosstown rivals.

It is West Coast’s biggest victory over Fremantle since Round 7, 2021.

Glendinning-Allan Medallist Elliot Yeo (26 disposals, six clearances, 507 metres gained, a goal) continued his blistering start to 2024, while Tim Kelly (24 touches, seven tackles, five clearances, 607 metres gained) and Harley Reid (19 disposals, seven clearances) were exceptional in the clinches, particularly Reid, who only added to his highlight reel.

Jake Waterman carried on his career performance last Sunday against the Tigers, booting five to take his season tally to 17 – moving into third place in this year’s Coleman Medal, while Jack Darling’s two have him equal for third with Peter Sumich (514) on West Coast’s all-time leading goal kicker table.

Caleb Serong (27 disposals, six clearances) toiled hard for Fremantle as did former skipper Nat Fyfe (27 touches, 13 clearances), and Andrew Brayshaw (27 disposals).

It is Fremantle’s third straight loss after agonising defeats to Carlton and Port Adelaide, setting up a tricky month with matches against Western Bulldogs next Saturday night back at Optus Stadium, followed by Richmond (MCG), Sydney (Optus Stadium), and St Kilda (Marvel Stadium).

Early on, the game was filled with plenty of pressure in tight. West Coast looked to continue their frantic tackling pressure while Fremantle were content with methodically chipping the ball to find uncontested marks.

The Dockers received an early blow when last season’s club leading goal kicker Jye Amiss night ended only a handful of minutes in, after copping an accidental knee to the head from Jeremy McGovern.

Already in a rich vein of form, Elliot Yeo’s first touch resulted in the game’s opening goal, the beneficiary of a splendid tackle from Jake Waterman on Dockers captain Alex Pearce.

Whilst the soaring Eagles were hungry to make life as difficult for the Dockers, Fremantle didn’t help their cause by squandering opportunities.

West Coast ramped the pressure up another gear, then the talk off the town since being drafted in November Harley Reid bobbed up. The combative onballer took a ripping mark in the goalsquare outnumbered two to one.

He’d emphatically ram home the Eagles’ dominance and moments later Reid was in the thick of the action, this time drawing a high free on Dockers’ star onballer Caleb Serong, going back to convert after the quarter-time siren and running over to celebrate with the Eagles contingent as his teammates rushed towards him.

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Despite their statistical dominance, Inside 50s (16-7), and clearances (12-6), the home side were far cleaner going at 79.7% disposal efficiency.

West Coast’s pressure was no fluke.

It was the repetitive, unrelenting Eagles carrying on the surge into the second. Goals from Jack Williams, small forward Noah Long, and Jake Waterman extended the margin out to 42 points.

Fremantle looked completely overwhelmed, outhunted, and losing one-on-one contests.

On the other hand, West Coast couldn’t put a foot wrong.

Reid brought about another highlight when he burst away from the centre stoppage drawing roars from the pro Eagles faithful.

With ascendancy truly on the terms of the Eagles, Fremantle were the opposite, struggling to get their hands on the ball, and the side not register a single Inside 50 until the quarter’s midway mark.

At long last, ruckman Luke Jackson registered Fremantle’s opening goal, halting a run of seven consecutive Eagles goals.

Back-to-back majors from Sam Sturt and Tom Emmett sliced the deficit to 31 points, before the man of the opening half Jake Waterman landed his fourth giving West Coast a 37-point lead at half-time.

Errant skill errors continued to plague Fremantle, with veteran Michael Walters slipping over and coughing a handball straight to his opposite jumper other than purple.

The Reid show revved up when he came from the side to soar for a mark, going back to boot his third.

Campbell Chesser swopped on a loose ball and last year’s mid-season number one pick Ryan Maric flushed home a bomb from the Swan River, putting another puncture on an already deflated Dockers unit.

Fremantle found a spark to begin the fourth slamming four goals in nine minutes, but that slight hope would be snuffed out when the unstoppable Waterman landed his fifth.

West Coast 4.1 9.4 14.9 16.9 (105)

Fremantle 0.3 3.3 4.5 10.8 (68)

West Coast Goals: Waterman 5, Reid 3, Darling 2, Yeo, Chesser, Cripps, Long, Maric, Williams

Fremantle Goals: Treacy 2, Sturt 2, Jackson 2, Emmett, Sharp, Walters, Johnson

Crowd: 54,473 at Optus Stadium

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