4.2 8.6 9.10 9.15 (69)
1.4 5.7 6.11 8.13 (61)
GOALS - West Coast: Kennedy 3, Sheed 2, Darling 2, Gaff, Duggan.
Western Bulldogs: Redpath 3, Webb 2, Wood, Adams, McLean.
BEST - West Coast: Mitchell, Gaff, Sheed, Hurn, Priddis, Yeo.
Western Bulldogs: McRae, Daniel, Bontempelli, Hunter, Johannisen, Jong.
UMPIRES Stevic, Dalgleish, Findlay.
CROWD 38,934 at Domain Stadium.
Let's mark West Coast's round five loss to Hawthorn down as an aberration, or maybe an MCG hoodoo.
Because including Friday night's eight-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium, they haven't done too much wrong.
It wasn't the prettiest of wins; they only managed 1.9 after half-time.
But it was their sixth victory from eight rounds, their third on the trot and they go into Saturday in second spot on the AFL ladder.
It was a bit of revenge on the Dogs, who knocked them out of the finals at the same venue last season, on their way to a drought-breaking premiership win.
They trailed the Bulldogs for only 12 minutes of the first term after the visitors kicked the first goal of the game.
The Eagles midfield of Sam Mitchell (33 possessions), Andrew Gaff (35) and Dom Sheed (23 and two goals), plus forward Josh Kennedy (three goals), made sure the home side controlled the run of play after that.
Kennedy could have made things a lot easier for his side though. He kicked 3.6 for the game, including three consecutive behinds in a space of four minutes to start the final term.
The Eagles led by 17 points at the final break and the only goals that came in the final term were to Bulldogs Easton Wood and Lukas Webb. But it wasn't enough.
While the Bulldogs are consistently fast finished, they need to do something to arrest their poor starts.
Despite kicking that first goal of the game, they trailed the Eagles by 16 points at quarter-time. That was the seventh consecutive opening term they have lost.
They had won five of their seven previous second halves though and came back from 26 points down against Richmond last week to win.
But not this time.
Another concerning trend for the reigning premiers is their losses when playing outside of Melbourne. All three defeats this season have come while travelling across the border – twice now in Perth and against GWS in Canberra in round six.
And they still have four games outside of Melbourne to play (in Sydney, Adelaide, Tasmania and Brisbane), plus a round 22 clash against Port Adelaide in Ballarat.
By then though, the Dogs will hopefully be back to having somewhere near their best line-up back on the park.
They were without arguably six of their starting line-up on Friday night, including skipper Robert Murphy who was rested for the trip.
On the upside, Jack Redpath made a remarkable return from another knee reconstruction for the Dogs in Perth.
The powerful forward injured himself against St Kilda in round 18 last year and only played one game in the VFL in his return, kicking six goals last weekend, before getting a call-up.
The 26-year-old looked dangerous early, kicking the game's first goal after taking a strong mark over young Eagles defender Tom Barrass.
He had three goals by half-time, two of them coming from goal square as a result of some hard running.
He had fewer chances after half-time and did look a little sore at times when sliding on the Domain Stadium ground to mark.
But he's an important part of the Dogs forward line, having kicked 20 goals from 10 games last season. His three goals on Friday night took his career tally to 44 from 26 games and it was his seventh return of three goals or more.
The Dogs also continued with Marcus Adams in attack and he again didn't look out of place, although with 1.2 to his name in the opening half, he could have had his side much closer than 17 points at the main break. He finished with 1.3.
And with the Eagles able to get multiple marks and shots on goal at the other end, Luke Beveridge is going to be faced with a decision of what to do with him each week. Seven of the Eagles shots on goal in the second term came from set shots after marks were taken inside their attacking 50.
But, as has been the case a bit this season so far, West Coast's forwards squandered their chances. They kicked 4.4 for the term, with Kennedy booting 1.2 of those.
However, once again, it was enough.
The story ‘Not pretty, but West Coast get the job done against Western Bulldogs’ first appeared on The Age.