Eagles extend AFL streak with win over GWS

West Coast have claimed a 25-point AFL win over the GWS Giants.West Coast coach Adam Simpson has refused to buy into talk of his red-hot side winning the AFL flag, despite remaining unbeaten on the road with a 25-point win over Greater Western Sydney.

In-form key forward Jack Darling kicked four goals, three of them in a match-tilting surge in Saturday afternoon’s second quarter, to help the Eagles to a 12.14 (86) to 8.13 (61) win at Spotless Stadium.

Missing Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey and Jeremy McGovern, the Eagles underlined their depth with a strong performance against a Giants side who lost Phil Davis (concussion) and Matt de Boer (hamstring) during the game.

West Coast’s seventh-straight victory moves them to the top of the table above Richmond, who they host next week. They have improved their record to 7-1 and 3-0 outside Western .

While he viewed next week’s home match against the Tigers as a “magnificent opportunity” to test themselves against the benchmark side of the competition, Simpson wouldn’t be drawn on whether West Coast could win the premiership.

“We’ve got a few early wins this year which is bloody great. I’m really pleased with that, but there’s no thought about that stuff,” Simpson said.

West Coast led by 14 points early, but GWS kicked four-straight goals either side of quarter-time to lead by 10.

The Eagles reasserted themselves, with Darling kicking three of five-straight goals for the visitors, as they regained the lead before halftime and never relinquished their advantage.

“This season, he (Darling) has probably gone up another level just with the maturity,” Simpson said.

“He’s got hands of steel at the moment – it’s hard to break those hands.”

The Giants suffered successive losses for the first time this season. While coach Leon Cameron couldn’t fault their effort, he admitted their kicking efficiency and decision making were poor.

“To win contested ball, (finish almost) even in inside 50s, out-tackle them, but then give them seven goals in the front half (from turnovers), that’s deflating, so that’s an area of concern,” Cameron said.

With youngster Jake Waterman kicking three goals and Josh Kennedy two, West Coast’s forwards provided much more than GWS, with Jeremy Cameron’s double making him their only multiple goalkicker.

For the Eagles, Jack Redden finished with 13 clearances after a quiet first half and Andrew Gaff and Elliot Yeo also had plenty of ball.

Will Rioli showed a combination of skills and toughness and, down back, Tom Barrass, Will Schofield and Brad Sheppard gave up little.

In his 200th game, GWS co-captain Callan Ward collected 30 touches with Lachie Whitfield, who spent part of the third quarter getting a shin injury stitched up.

Simpson hoped McGovern, Dom Sheed and Lewis Jetta could be back next week, plus Naitanui after his suspension.

He said the Eagles had follow-up talks with the AFL after Naitanui’s ban, but he declined to give details and said the club had moved on.

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