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West Coast Eagles

Qualifying final: Talking points

Three key moments: Eagles v Magpies Three crucial moments in a memorable win for WCE

1. Lewis Jetta has exorcised his finals demons  
West Coast speedster Lewis Jetta delivered the moment of a classic qualifying final when he intercepted the ball 45m from goal with five minutes to play and snapped a magnificent goal to put his team four points ahead. Swamped by teammates after celebrating in the style of Cristiano Ronaldo, it was a dream moment that should erase any nightmares Jetta has had about poor past performances on the September stage, including last year's semi-final against Greater Western Sydney. The former Swan finished with 20 possessions and, his brilliant goal aside, was critical in a famous September win for his team.

2. You can't keep Josh Kennedy down for four quarters 
In his first game since suffering a hairline fracture in his right shin injury almost seven weeks ago, Josh Kennedy looked off in the opening quarter. When things didn't improve in the second, and he entered the main break with two disposals and no marks, the Eagles would have been concerned. Kennedy had been an inch off all night, and the situation looked dire when the two-time Coleman medallist fluffed a simple 25m shot in the third quarter. But things finally turned his way in the third minute of the final term when he took a clean mark on the lead, converting from 45m on the boundary to lift his team on his shoulders at a critical moment. Kennedy was beaten on Saturday night, but he lifted when needed, and he's not likely to be that inch off when the Eagles' host a preliminary final in two weeks' time.

3. The Pies did the right thing at selection 
Although Collingwood didn't get the result they desired, the selections of Tyson Goldsack, Adam Treloar and Jeremy Howe in returns from injury earned a big tick. Goldsack, in particular, was an inspired selection, with the popular veteran returning from a knee reconstruction inside six months to take the points against Kennedy. Goldsack's added height (193cm) was important for an undersized back six, allowing Tom Langdon and Howe to split their duties on Jack Darling (two goals). Treloar, meanwhile, started with a rush before slowing down to finish with 24 possessions (13 contested) and six clearances. All three will be critical – and better for the run – when the Magpies face Greater Western Sydney in a cutthroat semi-final.   

4. The Magpies hold no fears on the finals stage  
Premiership Magpie Steele Sidebottom has missed the finals stage, and the finals have missed him, with the midfielder producing a brilliant performance that fell just short of delivering his team victory. But while Sidebottom could draw on 14 games of finals' experience, 14 of his teammates had none. That group included stars Treloar and Taylor Adams and Jordan De Goey, who each stood up to kick important goals in the second half. Coach Nathan Buckley has harnessed his young group's energy this season, and will no doubt have seen aspects of Saturday night's performance worth taking confidence from. "We won't dwell or cry over spilt milk," the coach said post-match, immediately focusing on next week's clash against the Giants.

5. Travis Varcoe deserved his moment 
Travis Varcoe showed incredible strength to fly across the country and play on Saturday night following the death of his sister Margaret last week. A minute's silence was observed pre-game, and Eagles Shannon Hurn, Tom Cole, Tom Barrass and Jetta made a point of shaking the experienced Magpie's hand before the bounce. Then it was time for Varcoe to pay his own tribute of sorts, swooping on a loose ball at half-forward, steadying, and kicking a brilliant running goal from 50m on the boundary. The Magpies were better for having Varcoe, who also laid a team-lifting chase-down tackle on Luke Shuey in a tense third quarter.