JOSH Kennedy has booted seven goals for West Coast who have flexed their AFL premiership credentials with a crushing 66-point win over Collingwood at Optus Stadium.
The Eagles trailed by 20 points late in Sunday’s opening term, but booted 17 of the next 18 goals on the way to the 18.3 (111) to 6.9 (45) victory in front of 24,824 fans.
Kennedy kicked four first-half goals before finishing with a perfect 7.0 in a sparkling display.
And it wasn’t as though his goals came in simple fashion, with most of them coming from tight angles or long distance.
West Coast’s Nic Naitanui outpointed Brodie Grundy in the crucial ruck battle, while star recruit Tim Kelly (30 disposals, six clearances, one goal) shone through the midfield in his best game for the club.
There was plenty of drama before the match as West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern (thumb) and Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury (tight quad) were both ruled out.
Pendlebury’s scratching was so late that his replacement Atu Bosenavulagi was still warming up after the opening bounce.
Magpies big man Darcy Cameron was a shining light in the first term, booting two goals to help give the visitors a 14-point edge at quarter-time.
Eagles spearhead Jack Darling revived memories from the 2015 and 2018 grand finals when he dropped the simplest of marks 20m out from goal in the second quarter.
But Kennedy’s heroics for the term saved Darling’s blushes.
Kennedy’s powerful marking proved too hot to handle for Collingwood defenders Jordan Roughead and Darcy Moore, with his three goals swinging momentum West Coast’s way.
The third quarter became a blood bath as the Eagles booted 6.0 to Collingwood’s 0.3.
Kennedy kicked his fifth, while young forwards Oscar Allan and Jake Waterman bagged two goals each for the quarter.
The margin was 44 points at the final change, and there was no coming back for the Magpies.
Eagles forward Liam Ryan kissed his black armband, pointed to the sky and shed some tears while being mobbed by his teammates after booting a goal early in the final quarter.
Ryan’s eight-year-old nephew died earlier in the week after being hit by a truck while riding his bike to school.
The Magpies boasted the best defensive record heading into this round, conceding an average of just 42.6 points per game.
But the way West Coast dismantled them to post the highest score of the season is set to send shockwaves through the league, and set the alarm bells off at Collingwood.
The Magpies’ only goal in the second half came in the dying minutes.
West Coast soars into fourth spot on the ladder, while Collingwood drops to seventh.
(C) AAP 2020
WEST COAST 2.0 7.2 13.2 18.3 (111)
COLLINGWOOD 4.2 5.3 5.6 6.9 (45)
Goals: West Coast: J Kennedy 7 O Allen 3 J Waterman 2 A Gaff J Cripps J Darling L Ryan N Naitanui T Kelly. Collingwood: D Cameron 2 W Hoskin-Elliott 2 J Daicos J Elliott.
Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Ray Chamberlain, Justin Power.
Official Crowd: 25,824 at Optus Stadium.