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Roos cause Eagles boilover

18th placed North Melbourne has produced one of the upsets of the season, defeating West Coast by 10 points at Optus Stadium on Monday night.

In a match that featured plenty of twists and turns in wet and slippery conditions, the Eagles produced a four-goal blitz early in the final quarter of Monday night's clash to take an 11-point lead.

But the Kangaroos refused to wilt, with the visitors booting four of the final five goals of the match to secure the 10.10 (70) to 8.12 (60) win in front of a stunned crowd of 30,515.

The result has all but eliminated West Coast as legitimate premiership contenders, with a spot in the lower rungs of the top eight the best the Eagles (8-8) can hope for now.

West Coast entered Monday night's match on the back of horror losses to the Bulldogs (55 points) and Sydney (92 points).

West Coast players vowed to bounce back against the Kangaroos, but the Eagles are renowned for playing badly in wet conditions, and so it proved yet again against the wooden spoon favourites.

Former Magpie Jaidyn Stephenson was instrumental for the Kangaroos with 38 disposals and a goal while Nick Larkey booted three goals.

Forward Cameron Zurhaar was also influential - albeit wayward - with 2.6.

North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein broke the all-time VFL/AFL hit-out record late in the first quarter and finished the match with 31 hit-outs from 12 disposals.

It took his career hit-out tally to 8525, bettering the previous record of Aaron Sandilands (8502).

But even more important was his mark in the goalsquare in the dying minutes, with the subsequent goal giving North Melbourne enough breathing space to seal the win.

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui finished with 20 disposals, 36 hitouts, and 11 clearances in a fighting display.

The first half featured plenty of niggle as players made their tackles and bumps count in the wet and slippery conditions.

Eagles forward Jamie Cripps is set to receive a fine for his jab to the chest of Tarryn Thomas in the second quarter that left the Kangaroos midfielder winded.

Thomas was furious and was subsequently reported himself for wrestling Cripps in the aftermath.

The Kangaroos fought hard to ensure they trailed by just five points at quarter time, and West Coast's inability to convert their opportunities continued to haunt them in the second term.

The margin was just two points and West Coast had 2.10 to their name before Eagles forward Oscar Allen converted a tough set shot after the half-time siren to edge out to an eight-point lead.

The inside 50m count read 34-12 in favour of West Coast at halftime, but alarm bells started to ring for the Eagles as North Melbourne dominated the third term.

Two goals to Larkey and a goal to Goldstein - following a 50m penalty for Tim Kelly being in the protected area - saw the Kangaroos head to the final break with a shock 11-point lead.

The Eagles looked like a dishevelled unit during the third term, with midfielder Elliot Yeo delivering Jeremy McGovern an angry spray at one point.

The final term was a goal-fest as the conditions started to improve, and North Melbourne ended up winning the shootout to leave the Eagles season on a knife edge.

The Eagles face Adelaide in round 18 on the road, while North Melbourne meet Essendon at Docklands on Sunday.

IMAGE: Herald Sun.


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