West Coast has cruised to a seventh straight victory and maintained its place inside the top four after comfortably beating Hawthorn by 32 points in Perth.
- The Eagles held onto fourth place on the ladder courtesy of the triumph over the Hawks
- The Saints recorded a commanding 35-point win over the Bombers
- Western Bulldogs defeated the winless Adelaide Crows by 57 points
Liam Ryan and Josh Kennedy both kicked three goals and Jack Darling added two, as the Eagles triumphed 12.9 (81) to 7.7 (49) win in front of 22,870 spectators.
In Sunday’s earlier matches, St Kilda kicked back into top gear with a dominant 35-point win over Essendon, and the Western Bulldogs extended Adelaide’s losing run to 15 matches with a 57-point thrashing.
In Perth, Nic Naitanui (14 disposals, 35 hitouts, four clearances) starred in the ruck in a performance that edges him closer to a second All-Australian selection.
Tom Mitchell battled valiantly for the Hawks to finish with 34 disposals and six clearances, but he lacked support.
Hawthorn did not score its first goal until the six-minute mark of the second quarter.
By that stage the Hawks were already trailing 28-0 and they never truly threatened to claw their way back despite winning the inside 50s battle 48-42.
Hawthorn lost the contested possession battle 145-114.
The Hawks suffered more pain in the dying minutes when James Sicily was carried off the field by two trainers with a painful right knee injury.
The fourth-placed Eagles’ win improved its win-loss record to 8-3. Importantly, they have a match in hand on all the teams above them on the ladder.
Hawthorn’s finals hopes are all but over after slumping to 4-7.
West Coast were dealt a blow before the match when Elliot Yeo withdrew with a groin injury.
In a scrappy opening term, Hawthorn’s kicks forward were picked off with ease as Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass combined for nine marks.
At the other end it was Ryan who was causing all sorts of damage, with the premiership forward taking two big pack marks for two goals.
The margin was 28 points when Oscar Allen kicked truly early in the second term before Hawthorn scored their first goal of the match at the six-minute mark when Liam Shiels snapped truly.
The rest of the quarter was an even arm-wrestle with West Coast taking a 26-point lead into the long break.
The match was effectively over when Kennedy booted two goals in two minutes to start the third quarter and Darling added another major to extend the Eagles’ advantage to 43 points.
Saint bounce back to beat Bombers
Max King kicked three goals but could have had four in the first quarter alone, while crucially Brad Hill found more ball in the Saints’ 10.8 (68) to 5.3 (33) victory at the Gabba.
The Saints had won four straight matches before they were handed a 59-point flogging by Geelong at the same ground six days ago.
Rested for that match, ruckman Patty Ryder was back alongside Zak Jones, who had 26 disposals in his 100th AFL match.
In partnership with Rowan Marshall, Ryder made a difference too, chiming in with a momentum-snapping goal in the third term as St Kilda called the shots.
Brett Ratten’s men mopped up well in defence and then carved through the midfield led by Jack Steele (13, contested possession, six clearances) and Hill (17 disposals), Dan Butler’s goal a product of that to create a 41-point buffer approaching half-time.
The Bombers kicked three straight either side of the main break, with Adam Saad continuing his fine form with another long-range bomb.
But Ryder’s reply came as St Kilda slowed the pace and regained control.
King was ominous early, kicking the first two goals of the match before marking in the square and playing on only to get caught.
He missed another first-quarter set shot but Tim Membrey (two goals) was not as wasteful and Josh Battle obliged when opponent Josh Begley’s wayward infield kick hit him on the run.
Star recruit Hill had just seven touches against the Cats on Monday but showed his class — and pace — with some penetrating play against the Bombers.
Bulldogs shine as Crows stay winless
The 10th-placed Bulldogs pulled away from the winless Crows in an eight-goal second half, turning a 23-point lead at the main break into a 16.15 (111) to 8.6 (54) win in Carrara.
After finishing their 2019 campaign with three consecutive defeats, the Crows have now lost all 12 matches this season, meaning Matthew Nicks is still to record a victory as an AFL coach.
Aaron Naughton kicked a career-high six goals for the Bulldogs, including a final-quarter effort that came after a strong pack mark.
Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli backed up his 30-disposal display against Brisbane with a best-on-ground performance, picking up 33 touches and kicking two goals.
Bontempelli’s influence was evident from the start of the match, with six first-quarter clearances, while Adelaide in comparison had five in total for the term.
The midfielder ended the match with a career-high 12 clearances, with Adelaide ending on 19 in total.
Bulldogs teammate Ben Cavarra was the other multiple goal kicker, with two majors.
Former Bulldogs vice-captain Lachie Hunter marked his return after four rounds out due to personal issues in fine style, working hard with 29 disposals and kicking a third-quarter goal.
Bailey Smith led the disposals tally for the match with 37 touches, his run through midfield just too hot for the Crows to handle.