When West Coast last faced the Western Bulldogs in round one last year, it seemed like the team was venturing into the unknown, probing a new frontier.

While reasonably confident it would all come together in the twilight of a balmy autumn evening, all would not be revealed until game time.

A new coach, a cluster of new players, a new game plan.

In the pre-season series and the practice games, it could hardly have been more positive, but that form needed to be franked with premiership points on offer. And so it was.

Adam Simpson continued a remarkable trend of West Coast coaches. All of his predecessors – Ron Alexander, John Todd, Mick Malthouse, Ken Judge and John Worsfold – had begun their reign with a victory.

And Simpson did likewise, as a new-look West Coast demolished the Western Bulldogs.

It was an evening when four players debuted for the club: Jamie Bennell (Melbourne), Elliot Yeo (Brisbane) and Xavier Ellis (Hawthorn) after experiencing senior football elsewhere and Dom Sheed in his first senior match.

Bennell had been secured 18 months earlier and placed on the rookie list as he recovered from serious knee surgery. He showed enough in the second half of the 2013 season to be promoted to the senior list and immediately had an impact as a lock-down defender.

Ellis and Yeo also played back and had a strong impact, while Sheed was the sub, introduced into the game at three-quarter-time to replace Luke Shuey.

Victory was achieved through a ferocious assault on the football and amazing pressure around the contest, which saw the Bulldogs almost bullied into error. Matt Priddis, Matt Rosa and Scott Selwood were brilliant through the midfield.

Mark LeCras turned back the clock with five goals and 27 possessions as he split his time between the forward 50 and the centre square, and Jack Darling was also ubiquitous, kicking four goals and applying some trademark forward pressure.

Eric Mackenzie celebrated his 100th game in style and, in conjunction with skipper Darren Glass and Shannon Hurn, ensured scoring opportunities were scarce for the Bulldogs.

If there was one criticism it would be that the final quarter saw the intensity fall away and the Bulldogs better than doubled their score. But had a 65-point victory been offered pre-game, it would have been gleefully accepted.

Sunday, March 23 – Patersons Stadium
West Coast Eagles  4.2   9.4    13.6   21.8   (134)
Western Bulldogs  2.1   3.1     5.3     11.3   (69)
Goals: West Coast Eagles – LeCras 5; Darling 4; Cripps, Shuey, Kennedy 2; Priddis, Rosa, Selwood, Gaff, Wellingham, Masten. Western Bulldogs – Higgins, Hunter, Murphy, Crameri, Macrae 2; Boyd.
Attendance: 36,752


Played: 46 Won: 30 Drew: 1 Lost: 15


R1, 2014, West Coast 21.8 (134) d Western Bulldogs 11.3 (69) at Domain Stadium
R18, 2013, Western Bulldogs 16.15 (111) d West Coast 13.11 (89) at Etihad Stadium
R6, 2013, West Coast 21.11 (137) d Western Bulldogs 10.7 (67) at Domain Stadium
R1, 2012, West Coast 21.10 (136) d Western Bulldogs 12.15 (87) at Etihad Stadium
R19, 2011, West Coast 15.13 (103) d Western Bulldogs 15.5 (95) at Etihad Stadium


Robert West (13 league games for the West Coast Eagles from 1991 to 1993, 7 league games for the Western Bulldogs in 1994)
Andrew McDougall (38 league games for the West Coast Eagles from 2002 to 2006, 5 league games for the Western Bulldogs in 2007)
Koby Stevens (11 league games for the West Coast Eagles from 2010 to 2012, 39 league games for the Western Bulldogs in 2013 and 2014)


Murray Rance (40 league games for Footscray in 1986 and 1987, 57 league games for the West Coast Eagles from 1988 to 1990)
Paul Gow (7 league games for Footscray in 1991 and 0 league games for the West Coast Eagles in 1992)
Ilija Grgic (62 league games for Footscray from 1993 to 1996, 23 league games for the West Coast Eagles in 1997 and 1998, 2 league games for Essendon in 1999)
Josh Hill (66 league games for the Western Bulldogs from 2007 to 2011, 51 league games for the West Coast Eagles from 2012 to 2014)