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West Coast Eagles

Royals surge into WAFL finals

Fraser McInnes attempts to elude a tackle at Bendigo Bank Stadium Photo: Danni Harry Photography

East Perth clinched the last WAFL finals spot on offer with an unforgiving 84-point belting of defending premiers Peel at Bendigo Bank Stadium.

Both sides had everything to play for with the winner assured a spot in the top five, but it was the Royals who stormed to a 16.18 (114) to 4.6 (30) triumph and earned the right to face Claremont in an elimination final at Claremont Oval on Saturday.

Luke Webster’s men piled on the pressure early as onballers Patrick McGinnity, Brendon Ah Chee, Brayden Ainsworth, Hamish Brayshaw and Luke Partington got on top in the middle of ground.

East Perth utility Asher Samelko got the visitors going with the game’s opening goal and Partington doubled the Royals’ advantage with a crafty snap 10 minutes later.

The Thunder hit back via Fremantle mainstay Brandon Matera before Jake Waterman collected East Perth’s third goal of the term on the stroke of quarter time.

The Royals could have led by more than 16 points at the first change of ends, but they squandered several opportunities in front of the big sticks.

Sloppy skills and poor ball use were a feature of the second term, but East Perth managed to work their way through the trying period and extend their lead to 25 points at half-time.

East Perth completely dominated the third quarter, launching 10 scoring shots at the goals to Peel’s zero.

Unfortunately, only three of those kicks found the major opening.

The Royals brought their kicking boots to the final quarter and slotted seven of the last eight goals to secure a convincing win.

Partington starred with 29 disposals and three goals, Ainsworth amassed 33 disposals and 10 marks, while Ah Chee collected 24 disposals and bagged two majors.

Matthew Allen continued his impressive run of form with 24 touches, eight marks and a goal, budding inside midfielder Brayshaw got his hands on the ball 29 times and Jake Waterman kicked two goals from his 14 touches.

Josh Rotham was resolute down back with 10 spoils, Francis Watson and Jarrod Brander each possessed the Burley 17 times while Kurt Mutimer reeled in five marks and laid a team-high eight tackles.

Fraser McInnes won 19 hitouts, Malcolm Karpany was busy with 19 disposals and Jack Petruccelle clunked five marks and launched the ball inside 50 four times.