Eagles lose Kerr but power past Dockers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles lose Kerr but power past Dockers

Justin Chadwick 15/05/2011 09:18:06 PM Comments (0)

West Coast coach John Worsfold praised the character of his fledgling player group after they overcame the pre-game loss of stars Daniel Kerr and Andrew Embley to notch an impressive 33-point AFL victory over arch rivals Fremantle on Sunday.

The Eagles were robbed of two of their most important players when Kerr (groin) pulled up sore from the warm-up and Embley decided against risking a tight hamstring that had bothered him for the past two weeks.

But it mattered little as West Coast stormed to the 14.12 (96) to 9.9 (63) victory, snapping a seven-game western derby losing streak in front of 40,567 fans.

Worsfold, who was hopeful Kerr and Embley would be fit for Sunday's home clash with the Bulldogs, said the character his group showed to overcome the losses was a credit to the side's growing maturity.

"It's a credit the players just got on with the business," Worsfold said.

"It was only just before we ran out that they realised Kerr wasn't playing. (Their mindset was it) just doesn't matter, we've got our roles to play."

The injuries to Kerr and Embley saw emergencies Brad Sheppard and Andrew Gaff thrust into the line-up at late notice.

"... Every emergency is always told you don't have a pie until the game starts. Not that they have a pie anymore," Worsfold said.

Fremantle goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne (hamstring) was also a late withdrawal after failing to overcome a hamstring complaint.

Sombre Dockers coach Mark Harvey, who suffered his first derby loss, questioned West Coast's late changes.

Although Embley was ruled out when the team lists were submitted, Kerr was ruled out less than 30 minutes before bounce down.

"We'll be seeking clarification on that," Harvey said.

"I think it's a bit more than a medical certificate as to why (there were team changes).

"It's not a reason though why we got beaten."

West Coast led by 12 points at quarter time and set up the win with a dominant second term in which they booted 5.4 to 1.3 despite kicking against a stiff breeze.

The Dockers entered their forward 50m just four times during the quarter as West Coast's midfield, led by Ross Glendinning medallist Matt Priddis (27 possessions), took control of the contest.

Eagles forwards Jack Darling (two goals), Josh Kennedy (three), Mark Nicoski (two) and Mark LeCras (two) shared the scoring duties, while Quinten Lynch, ruckman Nic Naitanui and Matt Rosa were also impressive.

Dockers ruckman Aaron Sandilands (45 hit-outs), David Mundy (28 disposals) and Nat Fyfe (28 disposals, two goals) battled valiantly, but the trio lacked support from a Fremantle outfit that appeared unusually flat.

Young gun Stephen Hill tallied 16 touches but looked out of sorts for much of the match, while former Collingwood forward Jack Anthony tallied just five possessions and was kept goalless in his Dockers debut.

The Eagles (4-3) moved into seventh place on the table with their first derby victory since 2007, while the Dockers (4-3) dropped to eighth following their second straight loss.

Harvey said his team, which face struggling Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on Saturday, were starting to feel the pinch of a heavy injury toll.

"We appear to have not enough class at the moment in our side and we are putting ourselves under pressure with our disposals," Harvey said.

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