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April 21, 2018: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Eagles defeat Carlton in MCG scrap

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WEST Coast has dispelled doubts over its performances at the MCG with a solid 10-point win over Carlton on Saturday night.

The Eagles only managed one goal in the final quarter, but still hung on to win 10.19 (79) to 10.9 (69) win.

Elliot Yeo was among the best for the Eagles, dominating the contested possession count, ably supported by Andrew Gaff, who finished with over 30 possessions and two goals.

Carlton fought bravely in the first half, trailing by just two goals at half time, but the Eagles came out with more energy after the long break and started to win more of the contested footy, extending their lead.

The biggest positive for Carlton was the performance of key forward Harry McKay, who kicked a game-high four goals in an impressive display.

INDEX

SECTION 1 WEST COAST EAGLES FOOTBALL TEAM PROFILE

SECTION 2 PRESS RELEASES: 2018

SECTION 3 OTHER NEWS: 2018

SECTION 1 WEST COAST EAGLES FOOTBALL TEAM PROFILE

1.1 SUMMARY

Website: http://www.westcoasteagles.com.au/

SECTION 2 PRESS RELEASES: 2018

April 17: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Rioli signs two-year contract extension

Exciting small forward Willie Rioli has put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension tying him to the West Coast Eagles until the end of season 2020.

Rioli has made the most of his opportunities in 2018 after enduring a trying rookie year.

The Tiwi Islands product had an outstanding 2017 pre-season before suffering a severe hamstring tendon injury that required surgical repair.

He impressed in his WAFL return following an extended stint in West Coast's rehab group only to suffer another hamstring injury during his league debut, which cast him to the sidelines until the latter stages of the year.

Thankfully Rioli's fortunes changed ahead of this year's campaign and he is delivering on the promise West Coast's recruitment staff saw in him some time ago.

He made his long-awaited AFL debut against the Western Bulldogs in round two and has held his spot in the senior team since.

The 22-year had his most productive game of the year against the Gold Coast Suns at the weekend, netting two goals to help the Eagles register a triumphant 80-point victory at Optus Stadium.

Rioli said he was thrilled to extend his stay at the football club.

"I want to be a one-club player," Rioli declared.

"West Coast has been a great support for me and my family since I moved over here. I am grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity.

"Last year I didn't play much footy, so for them to give me another two years, I didn't want to say no.

"West Coast has been a great family club for me and no doubt I want to repay the favour.

"I still pinch myself everyday getting on the bus with Nic Nat, Mark LeCras and Josh Kennedy. It's still something I definitely don't take for granted."

Eagles list manager Brady Rawlings said the club was pleased to secure Rioli's services for an additional two years.

"His skill level is what draws you to him," Rawlings said.

"His ability to hit targets going inside 50 and ability to finish his good work in front of the goals is obvious, but what we've been really impressed with is his cleanliness at ground level, his ability to crumb and make the most of half opportunities and his defensive pressure is also great.

March 19: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Yeo a chance to start forward

Adam Simpson is considering using club champion Elliot Yeo in stints up forward as West Coast plans ways to spread the load in spearhead Josh Kennedy's absence.

Yeo, an All Australian half-back last year, is preparing for a midfield role in 2018 but boasts the overhead prowess and goalkicking instincts to relieve the pressure on a young Eagles attack.

West Coast could have as many as four debutants - Liam Ryan, Willie Rioli, Jake Waterman and Daniel Venables - stationed in the forward line during the season-opening blockbuster at Optus Stadium.

Yeo booted three goals against Gold Coast in round 11 last season when Kennedy was sidelined, and could provide another target alongside Jack Darling.

"Looking at our front half, with how raw that is without JK there, that's definitely something we'll look at," West Coast coach Simpson told AFL.com.au.

Yeo averaged 23 disposals and seven marks mainly in defence last year, but is being mooted for an expanded midfield role to add some dynamism to the engine room.

The 24-year-old shadowed some of the League's best goalkicking onballers last year and, at 190cm and 89kg, has the potential to evolve into a powerful midfielder.

"He would often play on (Nat) Fyfe, (Marcus) Bontempelli, (Patrick) Dangerfield and go with them forward and on-ball," Simpson said.

"He's an All Australian half-back but he played on-ball for periods last year.

"We just want to explore that more without a (run-with) role.

"Consistency of output is probably the next step for him as an onballer, because he's just done that now as a defender.

"I think it's more just time, not what he needs to work on because he's got the tools."

The Eagles will be without Kennedy until at least round three as he undergoes a mini pre-season following ankle surgery in December.

The dual Coleman medallist hasn't encountered any setbacks but had another minor operation to remove a bone fragment in his leg this week.

"There's a fair bit to say when you've been around for a while that you've got the muscle memory and you kick-in with your experience, but you've got to have a little base (before playing)," Simpson said.

"He's literally done two-to-three weeks of training, so we've just got to get his base up to a level where he's confidence where he can back it up week after week."

Kennedy also missed five games mid-season last year battling a calf/Achilles issue, and Simpson revealed the Eagles will manage the 30-year-old's game time and training program differently this year.

"He's a warrior.

February 19: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Red Nose biggest winner at Sunshine Beach Run

Red Nose has an extra $100,000 to invest in its SIDS research, education and counselling programs thanks to yesterday's Sunshine Beach Run.

More than 1200 people flocked to City Beach to participate in the fun run, which has raised more than $1 million for Red Nose over the past seven years.

West Coast Eagles physiotherapist Chris Perkin founded the event in 2012 after the tragic loss of his stillborn son Jack and wife Cindy in 2009.

Sunshine Beach Run ambassadors Jack Darling and Mark LeCras, new father and midfielder Jack Redden, plus Luke Shuey, Brad Sheppard, Liam Duggan and Willie Rioli got in on the action and cheered on participants.

Former players Sam Mitchell and Sam Butler also showed their support for the charitable affair.

LeCras said it was good to see so many families attend the Sunshine Beach Run.

"My understanding of what this event is about really hit home after I had my children," he said.

"Tex (Perkin) has done a great job coordinating this event for the past seven years. I love getting down here; it's a great day. The kids really love it as well."

Darling said it was a credit to Perkin and the wider Western Australian community that the Sunshine Beach Run had raised more than $1 million for Red Nose in just seven years.

Red Nose aims to eradicate sudden infant death syndrome.

The charity believes it can achieve its goal through world-class research, advocacy and education.

For more information about Red Nose, please visit https://rednose.com.au/

Source: Company Website

SECTION 3 OTHER NEWS: 2018

April 22: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Five things we learned against the Blues

1. Some fans, assessing the game on ladder positions, might have expected a comfortable victory for West Coast over Carlton. But the Eagles' inner sanctum was under no illusions and got what they expected from the Blues. It was a dour, gritty arm wrestle from start to finish, with a five-minute burst late in the third quarter seeing the Eagles create the match-winning break.

2. Over the course of his career, Brad Sheppard has built a reputation as smart defender, another member of the Eagles' defensive group who reads the game well and is a strong intercept mark. But he is also a tough competitor. There were two great examples of that, one an inspired chase in the third quarter to effect a kick by Matthew Wright, and the other a desperate lunge to force a behind when the ball was bound for goal. He cannoned into the post, hitting his leg in the process and while he hobbled away, he fought through it to finish the game.

3. Young defender Tom Cole was among the most impressive Eagles in the pre-season, but a family bereavement meant he was not available for the opening game. He has waited for his opportunity and showed why the club is excited by what he offers with an eye-catching return to senior football.

April 21: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Best Eagle afield: Andrew Gaff

Senior coach Adam Simpson described the performance against Carlton as a grinding win and the efforts of wingman Andrew Gaff personified that description.

Gaff worked from end to end and through the middle and was largely responsible for his team eking out an important win that took them to the top of table in the middle of an extended round of football.

The energetic midfielder accumulated 31 possessions and finished with two important goals that were precious in such a tight game. In conjunction with Elliot Yeo, Dom Sheed and Luke Shuey they maintained momentum for the visitors on the way to a significant MCG win.

Gaff was at his trademark best in terms of gaining territory for his team, clocking up 526 metres gained with the ball in his hands.

Source: Company Website

April 20: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Lewis Jetta withdrawn due to general soreness

Experienced West Coast defender defender Lewis Jetta has been ruled out of the team to play Carlton because of general soreness.

Jetta, who has been in solid form rebounding off half-back, has been replaced in the team by emerging half-back Tom Cole, who was in exemplary pre-season form.

Cole missed the opening game of the season for personal reasons, but resumes in this game at the MCG - a rare visit to the mecca of football for the Eagles.

Source: Company Website

April 20: West Coast Eagles Football Team: WAFL Round 4: Eagles available for East Perth

East Perth will have 13 West Coast-listed players to choose from for its critical round four clash with Perth at Lathlain Park.

Tomorrow's match will feature the long-awaited returns of off-season recruit Brendon Ah Chee and the Eagles' second selection in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, Oscar Allen.

Ah Chee has not played a game since suffering an ankle injury during West Coast's opening JLT Community Series encounter with Port Adelaide, while Allen has not been available for selection due to a case of shin splints that derailed his first AFL pre-season.

It is yet to be determined whether Ah Chee and Allen will return via the Royals' reserves or league teams, but it has been confirmed that both will only play limited minutes during their comeback matches.

In-form big man Fraser McInnes is available to face the Demons, as is budding key forward Jarrod Brander and developing midfielder Brayden Ainsworth.

Francis Watson, Tom Cole, Jack Petruccelle and Will Schofield are listed as emergencies for West Coast's clash with Carlton, but the latter pair are more than likely to be available for the WAFL encounter.

Source: Company Website

April 20: West Coast Eagles Football Team: McGovern adapting to new tactics

Intercept star Jeremy McGovern concedes he was caught "trying to force things" in the opening three rounds after West Coast's opponents employed different tactics to negate the Eagles backline's aerial prowess.

But the dual All Australian is confident he has put his finger on how rival clubs are trying to find ways around bombing the ball into his, and his teammates', waiting arms.

McGovern had a quiet start to 2018 by his lofty standards but responded with a season-high eight intercept marks and 14 intercept possessions against Gold Coast.

"It's probably taken us a couple of weeks to adjust to the speed of the game now and the way teams are moving the ball," McGovern told AFL.com.au.

"They're not kicking it as long, or to contests, as much against us.

"It's taken a couple of weeks to get my head around it, and for us as a backline, but I feel I'm getting better most weeks with it all."

McGovern, who led the AFL for intercept marks over the past two seasons, hasn't been the only turnover specialist finding his feet in the opening month.

Melbourne recruit Jake Lever has so far failed to justify his hefty price tag - reported at $800,000 over four seasons - since leaving Adelaide in exchange for two first-round picks.

McGovern feels there's a developing trend for teams avoiding intercept-marking defenders, partly by keeping forwards one-out deep inside 50 and opening space.

"There's a lot of length in the game at the moment, you've got the deep forward one-on-one inside 50, which we saw late last year a little bit," he said.

"But this year there's a massive emphasis from most teams on trying to do it and keep the ground as big as possible - which we trained a bit - but they're doing it more than we thought so it's a little bit of adjusting here and there.

"We're very lucky we've got three or four boys who can do it (intercept mark).

April 20: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Venables talks ups and downs on Eagle Vision

Budding West Coast Eagles utility Daniel Venables steals the spotlight in this week's episode of Eagle Vision.

The program sits down with the second-year Eagle to discuss the most triumphant and trying moments of his short AFL career, including his memorable AFL debut and unfortunate run of injuries.

Jeremy McGovern spins a yarn about his first goal in blue and gold, the players out the club's worst storyteller and we recap our commanding 80-point win over Gold Coast.

Source: Company Website

April 19: West Coast Eagles Football Team: Eagles granted access to MCG ahead of Carlton clash

The West Coast Eagles have been granted a rare opportunity to access the MCG for its captain's run ahead of the club's clash with Carlton on Saturday.

This will mark the first time since grand final week 2015 that the club has been allowed to train on the nation's home of football ahead of any match there.

The AFL announced last week that the AFL Grand Final would be played at the MCG until 2057 and also revealed visiting clubs would have greater access to the ground in the future.

The Eagles take on Carlton at the MCG on Saturday at 2.35pm WST.

Source: Company Website

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