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West Coast Eagles

Five things we learned against the Crows

Highlights: Crows v Eagles The Crows and Eagles clash in round 10

1. Nathan Vardy copped a bit of heat in the aftermath of the victory against Melbourne in round nine after letting Dees ruckman Max Gawn know that Liam Ryan had used him as a step ladder. The Eagles big man responded with possibly his best performance of the year, giving his team a rare hit out advantage, largely opposed to young Crow Reilly O’Brien. Vardy had 48 hit outs, eight possessions and a mark.

2. The return of Will Schofield was a decisive factor in this result. Not only did he nullify Crows captain Taylor Walker, but structurally he allowed the Eagles to find a better balance. He kept Walker to 12 possessions and prevented him from any scoreboard presence whatsoever. Unavailable against the Dees, his resumption in defence allowed Oscar Allen to push forward and share the ruck duties with Vardy. Significantly, Allen kicked the goal that put the Eagles in front deep into the final term.

3. The Eagles midfield, collectively out-pointed in the last 15 minutes of the second quarter, responded magnificently thereafter. If coaches are looking for an even contribution from that group, check out these numbers – Luke Shuey 33 possessions, Andrew Gaff (33), Dom Sheed (31), Elliot Yeo (27) and Jack Redden (27). As that would suggest the performance of that group was the cornerstone of the fightback.

4. The Eagles needed to be stronger around the contest to arrest the 33-point deficit it faced six minutes into the third term. And that too was demonstrated in the numbers, with the team clamping on 100 tackles. The physical presence was led by Yeo who laid 15 tackles, Redden matched than number and Shuey put on 10 – making it 40 tackles from those three men alone.

5. With better supply inside the forward 50, the Eagles attacking weapons were more prevalent and they enjoyed the opportunities. Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling continue to work towards their best form and Jamie Cripps, the standard bearer for hard work, was also prominent. The three senior members of the attacking division each kicked three goals while some brilliant cameos from Allen, Liam Ryan, Willie Rioli and Jack Petruccelle helped West Coast win their eighth game from 10 visits to Adelaide Oval.