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AFL Round 8 Review: West Coast Eagles make big statement

West Coast Eagles

Six games went down to the wire in round eight of the 2020 AFL Premiership season, while a new flag favourite has emerged. Here are some of the biggest talking points to come out of the past week in footy.

West Coast Eagles become latest premiership favourites

The West Coast Eagles put in the most comprehensive performance of the season as they beat the best defensive team in the AFL by a whopping 66 points.

Only two teams had kicked more than 60 points on Collingwood heading into Sunday’s clash at Optus Stadium, but the Eagles had their way across the entire ground and tallied 111 points.

Tim Kelly played his best game since joining West Coast from Geelong, while Nic Naitanui dominated the ruck battle against Brodie Grundy.

The Eagles now sit fifth on the ladder with four wins on the trot, pushing their 2020 premiership odds to just $5.50 at Sportsbet.

Adam Simpson’s men play Geelong, Carlton and Hawthorn all in Perth over the next few weeks, so there is a good chance they can climb even higher.

Smalls forwards star again as Greene and Papley cash in

There were two games over the weekend that we expected would be entertaining events, and they delivered two of the best individual performances of the season.

We tipped Toby Greene to kick two or more goals at $3.10 in Friday’s AFL Grand Final rematch between the GWS Giants and Richmond, and the small superstar went on the kick five straight majors in a match-winning display.

Those who backed Greene to have a night out will have enjoyed their weekend, especially if they tied it into the Giants to win by 1-24 points at $2.90.

The following day, Tom Papley showed why he is one of the top five forwards in the league right now, booting four goals to drag the Sydney Swans to victory over Hawthorn.

That took his tally to 19 majors for the season, which puts him one ahead of the surging Josh Kennedy in the Coleman Medal race.

Carlton and St Kilda snap head-to-head losing streaks

Even though both the Carlton Blues and St Kilda Saints have been flying over the past month, their performances this weekend were significant for a few reasons.

Down a rotation on the bench for most of the second half, the Blues were backed up against a wall as North Melbourne came hard late in the contest.

The game looked like swinging in favour of North, but a strong defensive Carlton unit didn’t cave as the club claimed its first win over the Roos since 2014.

Even more impressive was St Kilda’s win over Port Adelaide, as the young Saints were on the road and hadn’t beaten the Power in nine years.

Brett Ratten masterminded a late surge that saw the Saints bury Port in the final term to claim a rare 29-point win at Adelaide Oval.

The lesson? Don’t rule out anything in 2020.

Will Gold Coast and Melbourne rue narrow losses come finals?

Two teams vying for the finals went down in close defeats this week, which they could dearly regret later in the year.

The Gold Coast Suns fell just short against the Western Bulldogs in a scrappy thriller on Thursday night, while Melbourne came off second best despite pushing the Brisbane Lions all the way on Sunday.

The Suns would be sitting sixth on the ladder had they won, but now they lie 10th with games against the Giants, Saints, Bombers and Tigers to come in the next month.

The Demons have been much better this last fortnight than what they served up earlier in the season, yet the loss to the Lions leave them 13th on the ladder and two wins outside the eight.

With matches against the Power, Crows, Kangaroos and Magpies coming up, the Dees will be ruing their wasted opportunities late on against the second-placed Lions.