Eagles hold off Saints to end hub stint with breakthrough win

West Coast will fly home from hub life as winners after holding on for a thrilling two-point victory over St Kilda in the bottom-of-the-table clash at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

No goals were kicked in the second half of Tuesday’s match, with the Eagles pulling off a series of clutch tackles at the death to hold on for the 2.10 (22) to 2.8 (20) win.

It was a fitting end for the Eagles after more than three weeks in hub life.

Most of the squad was struck down by COVID-19 during that period and the hard slog on the road was made even tougher when they conceded a late goal in a three-point loss to Geelong on Friday.

But West Coast held firm against the Saints when it mattered most to secure their first win of the season.

St Kilda, who were playing their first game in 17 days, remain at bottom of the ladder with a 0-4 record.

Dana Hooker (20 disposals) and captain Emma Swanson (19 possessions) were influential for West Coast through the midfield, while Isabella Lewis was also important with 18 disposals.

Saints captain Hannah Priest battled hard for 23 disposals while forward Jessica Matin was lively but inaccurate with 1.3.

West Coast dominated the inside 50m count 14-1 in the opening term, but it was the Saints who came away with the only goal of the term via Matin.

The Eagles wasted their chances with the breeze, but they made amends in the second quarter.

Aimee Schmidt beat Jayde Van Dyk in a one-on-one contest to kick West Coast’s first and the Eagles opened up a handy eight-point lead when Kellie Gibson goaled.

But powerful St Kilda forward Caitlin Greiser had the final say of the half, just a short distance away from where former Carlton forward Brendan Fevola was watching on in the crowd.

Greiser took a beautiful mark on the lead before kicking truly from a tight angle to reduce the margin to one point and earn the admiration of Fevola.

The second half became a tackle-fest as both sides went in hard.

St Kilda controlled play for large periods of the final quarter, but Greiser was twice denied a mark by the umpire despite appearing to hang on to the ball long enough.

The ball was camped in the Saints’ forward 50m during the final moments of the match, but the Eagles’ defence held firm under intense pressure.





Author: Ivan Robinson