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West Coast Eagles

Five things we learned against the Demons

Highlights: Eagles v Demons Check out all the highlights from our thrilling clash with the Demons!

1. It didn’t take Willie Rioli long to show precisely why West Coast fans were excited about him playing his first game of the season. After injuring a foot in the last training session before the first game, Rioli had a delayed started to the season. He also had a delayed entry into the game, starting on the bench. But a couple of minutes into his first exposure to elite football in 2019, the wizard dribbled a brilliant goal from just inside the forward 50.

2. Riloli provided the early highlight and on a night when the small forwards were exceptional, Liam Ryan gave a demonstration of his unique aerial skill. Flyin’ Ryan leaped onto the shoulders of Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn and took a spectacular grab – one that will be aired repeatedly over the weekend – and the rest of the season. With Jamie Cripps setting the standard for work rate, the Eagles’ three small forwards were highly influential.

3. And key forward Josh Kennedy was also a shining light, kicking four of the team’s 13 goals. He will be on the highlights reel too because his kick deep into attack was the trigger for Ryan to leap to dizzying heights. Kennedy worked hard all night to provide a target and an aerial contest and helped give the players at ground level the opportunity to swoop.

4. West Coast Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn earned all-Australian selection last year and should arguably have been skipper of that team. We are only nine games into the 2019 campaign and he is building a strong body of work to suggest he’s been even better this year. He had 33 possessions in defence and took 13 marks in a stunning defensive display.

5. Speaking of players in exceptional touch, the class of Luke Shuey was important throughout. He kicked two brilliant goals, one in the first minute of the last quarter that kick-started the Eagles amazing last stanza. Shuey is not only all class with the ball in hand, but his work rate is also outstanding, evidenced by his 10-tackle effort.