In front of 30,000 People at Optus Stadium on Sunday, the sole derby of season 2020 turned out to be in some parts underwhelming but in others just a West Coast Eagles masterclass after quarter time as they got into the top with a 30 point win over Fremantle, bringing the derby streak to 10 in a row, the longest streak since 1995-1999 when the Eagles won the first nine derbies.
But from the Dockers zone turnovers to Kennedy’s medal winning performance, what did we really take away from Derby 51.
Getting Sucked InEmbed from Getty Images
The Eagles like to take their time in moving the ball inside their 50, why they keep kicking short is that they suck the defenders in to the defensive 50 while the Dockers push away from the ball to create loose targets/
When the Eagles moved in transition from end to end, each time the Dockers were sucked in and put under pressure to put their numbers back into the attacking zone.
It often leaked goals during the big 3rd term where West Coast accelerated away.
Longmuir has to find a solution to go in hard man to man from the beginning even from the defensive transition of a side just getting back into the groove.
Frederick is a fair dinkum jet
Former South Australian Michael Frederick made his debut in the derby on Sunday and proved he can play if the side was good.
Although he did not get much of the football he is a good running player in my opinion and his goal in the 2nd term was due to good match awareness.
Running to the back of the ball when it bounced through a 2-on-1 contest, it proved he can be a viable option to goal when he is in the forward 50.
Highly impressive debut for him, good signs for Frederick in the future if he keeps up this work rate and dont be surprised if he gets selected against Geelong next Monday Night.
Safe, but stagnant
What is a positive for the Dockers under Justin Longmuir in Season 2020 is their ball movement from defence.
Its improved bit by bit and it was the difference in Fremantle’s last two wins, however in the Derby they learned if you are against this Eagles side, you cant afford to play too safe or you’ll be playing catchup all day.
Too often in the second and third quarters they tried to be safe with the ball and more often then not, got absolutely hammered on the half back flanks,.
Paul’s Top Five Dockers
1- Michael Walters
2- Andrew Brayshaw
3- Luke Ryan
4- Rory Lobb
5- Blake Acres
Mister Kennedy is back!
For many week’s Josh Kennedy’s form had warranted for people to write him off as being past his prime.
Yes he is 32 and has kicked over 600 goals but this past Sunday, ‘Mr. Kennedy’ was in vintage form as he made the most of Fremantle’s depleted defence and was virtually unchallenged.
Five Marks inside the forward 50 and finishing up with 4 majors from contested pack marks to left foot snaps, it was a vintage night for Kennedy, topped off with the Glendinning-Allan Medal for the third time in his 250th game.
Getting into the groove
After a slow first term where Fremantle had more of the territory and Matt Tabener caused a few headaches, West Coast were on the ropes but what they did do was suck the Dockers in by changing the tempo when shifting the ball from defence into attack.
About three times in the 2nd quarter the Eagles moved the ball swiftly and effectively and were rewarded with 4 goals.
The work of Yeo, Telly and Andrew Gaff again were reliable and covered plenty of ground throughout the match.
Centre bounce aggression
West Coast came into Derby 51 averaging the most centre clearances in the league – averaging 11 a game.
Fremantle did everything to stop that in the opening quarter with Aish & Cerra showing their works but after quarter time, the Eagles came into life in the centre and at one point in the game they kicked 3 goals in less then 2 minutes straight from Nic Naitanui taps to Yeo & Kelly respectively that resulted in those goals.
Nic Nat, Yeo & Kelly were ruthless in the centre in the final three terms in the Derby and when Luke Shuey returns next week against Collingwood, the Eagles midfield quartet will be back in its truest form.
Paul’s Top Five Eagles
1- Josh Kennedy
2- Tim Kelly
3- Andrew Gaff
4- Jackson Nelson
5- Tom Barrass
West Coast Eagles VS Collingwood – SUNDAY – Optus Stadium
Fremantle VS Geelong – MONDAY – Optus Stadium