Eagles pump hapless Suns
West Coast gave their percentage an important boost with a 126-point AFL trouncing of winless Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.
The Eagles never looked back after booting eight goals to two in the opening term, with ruckman Nic Naitanui unleashing some exquisite ruck work in the 25.16 (166) to 5.10 (40) win in front of 34,592 fans.
Although the win was important for the Eagles, the boost to their percentage could prove equally vital as the race for top-four spots heats up.
The Eagles started the round with a percentage of 131.65, but their big win over the Suns boosted it to 143.12.
Collingwood, Essendon, Sydney, Adelaide and Hawthorn are other teams competing for top-four spots, and all boast healthy percentages, although not quite as good as the Eagles.
Naitanui set up numerous goals with his pin-point ruck taps, while midfielders Luke Shuey (32 disposals, three goals), Andrew Gaff, Matt Priddis, Chris Masten and Daniel Kerr were prolific.
Eagles forward Quinten Lynch finished with four goals and Jack Darling booted three, while debutant Murray Newman chipped in with two goals after being introduced into the fray midway through the third quarter.
Danny Stanley toiled hard for Gold Coast along with Gary Ablett and Harley Bennell, but the Suns struggled to keep pace with their more-fancied rivals as the club slumped to its 13th loss of the season and 20th in a row.
West Coast put two goals on the board before Gold Coast even managed a possession, and it was looking ominous for the Suns when Darling's mark and goal at the 18-minute mark of the opening term put the Eagles ahead 43-6.
Gold Coast had little to cheer about up until that point, although Matt Shaw at least provided a highlight when he picked the pocket of Matt Rosa on the wing, took three bounces and nailed a running goal from 40m.
West Coast, on the back of Naitanui's exquisite ruck work, appeared headed for a 100-plus point win following their blistering start, but a drop off in work rate allowed the Suns to work their way into the game.
Goals to Bennell and Charlie Dixon in the second quarter kept the margin to 39 points at halftime, but the Suns were obliterated in the second half as the Eagles slammed home 15 of the last 16 goals of the match.