Wayward Eagles battle past brave Blues

Jason Phelan
West Coast have overcome Carlton to score a hard-fought 10-point AFL win at the MCG

West Coast coach Adam Simpson will happily bank the premiership points, but he couldn't find much to get excited about in his side's 10-point win over Carlton at the MCG.

Even Saturday's 10.19 (79) to 10.9 (69) scoreline was a source of some frustration for the coach given the poor conversion in front of goal.

In their first visit to the MCG since round five last season, the Eagles kicked the last four goals of the third quarter to set up their fourth win of the season.

Apart from that pivotal period very little separated the sides despite West Coast entering the clash against the winless, last-placed Blues in second spot on the ladder.

"The four points ... it was definitely a 'grind' game," Simpson replied when asked what pleased him most about the indifferent performance.

"We anticipated that ... the suggestion it was going to be a walkover was ridiculous considering what Carlton are as a footy club.

"We knew it was going to be a grind but having said that we probably missed a few shots.

"To grind it out and have a victory at the 'G ... we'll take it, lick our wounds and keep going."

Elliot Yeo (26 possessions and 11 tackles), Andrew Gaff (31 disposals and two goals) and Chris Masten (27 touches and a goal) were key contributors for the visitors.

Mark LeCras was West Coast's leading goalkicker and his third and final goal with just less than four minutes remaining in the match snuffed out Carlton's challenge.

Josh Kennedy needed two goals to pass Peter Sumich and become the club's all-time leading goalkicker but he was kept to just one by Sam Rowe in his first game back from a knee reconstruction.

There was a lot to like about the play of a Carlton side that was coming off an embarrassing 86-point loss to North Melbourne and missing the likes of Marc Murphy, Matthew Kreuzer and Jacob Weitering.

Patrick Cripps, the skipper in place of the injured Murphy, was outstanding with 34 touches and 11 tackles. Kade Simpson (31 disposals) was also important.

Blues fans had long called for Harry McKay's inclusion and the young key forward didn't disappoint, kicking four goals.

"I'm really proud that they worked hard in the defensive side of the game," coach Brendon Bolton said.

"(But) we gave up some easy goals ... and we've got to be able to impact more when moving the ball forward.

"It's a work in progress for us but there was definitely some growth this week."

The Eagles, who improved to a 4-1 record, will play cross-town rivals Fremantle at Optus Stadium in round six, while Carlton take on the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.