WEST COAST 6.1 9.5 16.9 18.11 (119) MELBOURNE 1.1 3.3 5.4 8.5 (53)
GOALS: West Coast: M LeCras 4, J Kennedy 4; J Darling 3; J Hill 2; J Cripps, L Shuey, S Lycett, P McGinnity, A Gaff. Melbourne: J Fitzpatrick 2; B Vince, R Bail, J Howe, C Pedersen, C Dawes, D Tyson.
BEST: West Coast - M LeCras, C Masten, A Gaff, L Shuey, S Hurn, E Mackenzie. Melbourne - B Vince, N Jones, D Cross, D Tyson, J Howe, R Bail.
Umpires: Craig Fleer, Luke Farmer, Matthew Leppard.
Crowd: 35,083 played at Patersons Stadium.
West Coast finds itself right in the mix to snatch a spot in the final eight at the 11th hour after beating Melbourne by 66 points at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night. The 18.11 (119) to 8.5 (53) result moved the Eagles to ninth spot, but more importantly extended their impressive percentage from 111.1 to 114.7; the best of the sides fighting for a finals lifeline.
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Eagles' finals hopes still alive
The West Coast Eagles defeated Melbourne by 66 points at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night.
But will it be enough?
They will drop to 10th spot if Richmond beats St Kilda on Sunday, but could jump ahead of the Tigers, Crows and Collingwood with a win over the Gold Coast next Sunday.
If West Coast can beat the Suns, the Pies will need to beat Hawthorn, the Tigers beat Sydney, or the Crows beat St Kilda by a big enough margin to leapfrog the Eagles and deny Adam Simpson a finals campaign in his first season as a senior coach.
So, in a dream finish to the home-and-away season, the calculators could be out on the siren of the final home and away fixture, when the Crows play the Saints, determining who continues into September action.
And while Saturday's game was supposed to be retiring Dean Cox's final appearance at Patersons Stadium - perhaps his last game - results could even fall in favour of a Western Derby elimination final should Fremantle lose to Port Adelaide next Saturday.
Cox may also be needed against the Suns, as Nic Naitanui was a late withdrawal against Melbourne due to an achilles injury.
The other new injury concern for West Coast is Mark Hutchings, who was subbed out at quarter-time with a hamstring injury.
Melbourne did have a crack against West Coast, responding after a difficult week, and led the Eagles to the ball in the first half.
At the main break the Demons had had 18 more possessions and 24 more contested possessions, but trailed by 38 points.
It was mainly the second term, after falling behind by 30 points in the first, that the Demons got themselves into the game, in every stat except the scoreboard.
After kicking three goals in seven minutes to start the second term, the Eagles didn't manage another one for the quarter.
The problem for Melbourne is it kicked only two, both from the boot of big man Jack Fitzpatrick.
The Demons, with Max Gawn, Chris Dawes and Fitzpatrick in attack, failed to take a mark inside 50 in the first half. The Eagles took five in the opening quarter and booted three goals from them.
In fact, West Coast's first four goals all came from set-shots.
Melbourne's first mark inside its attacking 50 came three minutes into the final term when the margin was 72 points.
Bernie Vince, playing his 150th AFL game, marked about 50 metres out and then passed to Cam Pedersen who also marked, and went back to kick the Demons sixth goal.The result was decided a long time earlier though. When Jack Darling kicked the second of his three first-term goals at the 22-minute mark, the four premiership points were taken care of.
The margin was 31 points and Melbourne hadn't scored.
The Demons avoided their sixth goalless opening term of the season only because Vince's long centering kick from outside 50 rolled end on end and through for a major.
The third term was not so pretty for Demons supporters. It was also when Colin Garland was subbed out of the game after he had tried to continue after copping a knock on the knee in the first term.
West Coast dominated the quarter, kicking 7.4 to 2.1, opening up a 71-point lead. Melbourne had lost just one game by a greater margin than that this season, in round two when West Coast smashed it by 93 points at the MCG.
Mark LeCras kicked two (of his four goals) for the term and the Eagles started to win the contested and uncontested footy. Only time will tell if the three goals the Demons kicked in a final term, in winning the quarter by five points, will come back to haunt the Eagles finals chances.
Full stats at theage.com.au