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West Coast Eagles

WAFL Eagles strike against Thunder

Brady Grey booted three goals in his first outing as a WAFL Eagle

West Coast’s WAFL team sounded a warning to its competition with a comprehensive 39-point victory over Peel Thunder at David Grays Arena on Sunday.

The state league’s newest team ran riot against the 2016-2017 WAFL premiers in the practice match fixture, cruising to a 10.10 (70) to 4.7 (31) win in their first outing as a unit.

Fourth-year Eagle Matthew Allen etched his name into the club’s history books by kicking the first – albeit unofficial – goal for the WAFL Eagles with an imperious set shot from 40m.

Liam Robilliard extended West Coast’s lead to four points with a crafty crumb and right-foot snap 19 minutes into the first term, but Peel hit back quickly to secure a one-point advantage at the first change of ends.

Marquee recruit Brady Grey and skipper Fraser McInnes got the Eagles rolling in the second quarter with back-to-back goals, gifting the visitors a 17-point buffer midway through the second term.

When Grey collected his second major for the quarter and defender Josh Rotham intercepted an errant Thunder pass and kicked truly from beyond the 50m arc, West Coast had established a handy 24-point lead heading into the second half.

Peel started the second half with intent, bagging the first goal of the third quarter.

But the Eagles hit back via midfielder Brendon Ah Chee, who gobbled up a precise pass from defender-turned-onballer Jackson Nelson and slotted his set shot from 35m directly in front.

Nelson was rewarded for his hard work at the beginning of the final term, collecting a goal of his own, and former-Docker Grey collected his third six-pointer at his old stomping ground late in the piece to ice the win.

West Coast’s defensive unit was particularly impressive throughout the contest, keeping the home side to just four goals for the game and one in the second half.

Backmen Kurt Mutimer (26 disposals, nine rebound 50s, four marks), Josh Rotham (25 disposals, eight marks, four tackles) and Francis Watson (19 disposals, six marks, four tackles) were prolific, while Nelson (21 disposals), Ah Chee (19 disposals), Matt Allen (17 disposals), Josh Smith (17 disposals) and Hamish Brayshaw (16 disposals) led the onball brigade.

First-year Eagles Brodie Riach, Harry Edwards, Bailey Williams and Patrick Bines showed promise, as did experienced recruit Keegan Brooksby, who registered 24 hitouts and 13 disposals.

WAFL Eagles Andrew Fisher, Mitch Curnow and Sam Lamont were also standouts in their first hit-out in blue and gold.

West Coast Eagles head of development Gavin Bell said he was pleased with the WAFL team’s debut performance.

“We are just rapt with the way the guys have bonded together over the last few weeks and the way they came out and played with energy, effort and spirit around the ball was fantastic,” Bell said.

“We’re rapt with the first step but we know this is just the first step of what we are trying to do as a footy club and as a team. It was just great reward for effort for our first crack at it.”

The WAFL Eagles now have a week off before their second pre-season fixture against East Fremantle on March 23.