Western Bulldogs ruckman Tim English has made a stunning return from injury and illness to lead his side to a thumping 101-point AFL victory over hapless West Coast at Optus Stadium.
English had been sidelined since round five after a hamstring injury was followed by a serious bout of the flu that required hospitalisation.
But the 24-year-old showed no ill effects, tallying a career-high 25 disposals to go with eight clearances, and 28 hitouts in the 25.11 (161) to 9.6 (60) rout in front of 31,838 fans.
Such was the Bulldogs' dominance, they ended the match with 16 individual goalkickers - an equal record in VFL/AFL history.
West Coast were reportedly interested in luring English to Perth, but the 207cm ruckman is set to re-sign with the Bulldogs.
And on the evidence on Saturday night, English's star is set to burn brightly over the coming years.
English dominated in the air against West Coast's inexperienced ruck duo, and even acted as an extra midfielder at times with his outside run.
"He had a tremendous return, didn't he?," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
"He was really ill a couple of weeks ago.
"He's a great example of a ruckman in the competition who plays the game extremely well outside the stoppage. He's a very good turnover ruckman.
"He doesn't just get behind the ball. He'll spread forward and he'll link up in the chain."
Star forward Aaron Naughton booted four goals and Josh Dunkley (25 disposals, two goals) was also critical as the Dogs gave their percentage a much-needed boost.
The Bulldogs' third win on the trot improved their season record to 6-5 and lifted them into the top eight, while West Coast (1-10) remain mired to the foot of the table.
The Eagles lost star defender Jeremy McGovern midway through the second quarter due to a back injury.
"I thought he might have done his quad, but it's nerve related," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
"It's gone down to his leg, so hopefully he's OK."
West Coast forward Jack Darling bounced back to form with four goals - his highest tally of the season - while Tim Kelly (38 disposals, 11 clearances, one goal) was influential in the midfield.
Darling entered the match having kicked all nine of his goals in final terms this year.
But he had two by quarter-time in what was his best start to a match all season.
Darling booted the first of the night with a set-shot snap.
And he had his second at the 19-minute mark following a strong contested mark against Alex Keath.
Another strong contested mark set up Andrew Gaff for a goal late in the term.
West Coast's problem was that they were leaking goals at the other end, with Naughton and Dunkley booting two apiece to give the visitors a 21-point lead at the first break.
Even the Bulldogs defenders got in on the fun in the second term, and the floodgates opened in the second half as things got ugly.
Australian Associated Press
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