West Coast’s Mark LeCras was awarded a scrappy goal to sum up the Eagles’ stunning first half in their win over Melbourne to reach the grand final.
The home side flew out of the blocks with a 4.8 to 0.3 first quarter of the preliminary final at Optus Stadium on Saturday.
Without that inaccuracy it could have been worse but West Coast made the Demons pay in the second quarter, opening the term with five goals from their first six scoring shots.
LeCras’ goal proved the domination wasn’t going to turn around any time soon.
After a kick inside 50, the veteran forward found himself alone in the goal square and just barely scraped the ball through with his ankle.
Do they award the “Visually Least Appealing Goal of the Year”?
— Joey Ratcliffe (@JoeyRatcliffe) September 22, 2018
LeCras just kicked one of the strangest goals of all time #AFLEaglesDees
— Andy (@Andy__Munro) September 22, 2018
Worst goal of the year by Mark LeCras!! Good thing they don’t draw pictures in the scorebook
— Michael Rothery (@weenr14) September 22, 2018
— Sports Tragic (@Sports_Tragic1) September 22, 2018
Charlie Spargo and Christian Petracca missed Melbourne’s best chances to kick their first goal of the game as the second quarter came to a close.
West Coast led 10.9 (69) to 0.6 (6) when the siren for the main break mercifully arrived on a 26-degree day in Perth.
It was a historic capitulation by the Demons.
The last time a team failed to kick a goal in the first half of a final was Richmond’s 0.4 showing in the 1927 grand final against Collingwood.
Eagles thrash Dees to book spot in grand final
Melbourne’s supposed fairytale turned into a nightmare after suffering a 66-point loss to West Coast in an AFL preliminary final bloodbath at Optus Stadium.
The Eagles booted the first 10 goals of the match on Saturday to set up the 18.13 (121) to 7.13 (55) win in front of a record 59,608 fans.
West Coast will now take on Collingwood in next Saturday’s grand final at the MCG, and the Eagles will enter that match oozing confidence after crushing Melbourne to dust.
The Demons managed just 0.6 (6) in the first half and didn’t kick their first goal until 41 seconds into the third quarter. By that stage, the margin was 63 points and the game was already over.
Eagles spearhead Josh Kennedy booted four first-half goals in an inspired effort, while Jack Darling (three), Jamie Cripps (three) and Mark LeCras (three) also heaped pain on the Demons.
West Coast suffered a major injury scare when Luke Shuey hobbled to the rooms with a left ankle injury early in the second quarter but the star onballer allayed fears of major damage by returning to the field later in the term.
Jeremy McGovern also required medical attention after copping a big cork in the opening term but he was able to play out the match.
The Demons had beaten Hawthorn and Geelong in the previous two weeks to spark hope they could snare the flag from fifth spot but they will spend the summer licking their wounds after putting in one of their worst finals displays.
Melbourne were expected to dominate the contested possessions against West Coast but it was the home side that came up trumps when the game was on the line.
The Eagles won that stat 87-73 in the first half, with Kennedy feasting up forward in an inspired effort. Jack Redden (31 disposals, one goal) dominated through the midfield, while Shannon Hurn and McGovern cleaned up in defence. Liam Ryan added the X-factor with 18 disposals and a goal.
Melbourne set unwanted 91-year first in horror first half
* The Demons’ score of 0.6 at halftime in Saturday’s 18.13 (121) to 7.13 (55) thrashing at Optus Stadium is the lowest halftime score in a final since Collingwood’s 1.0 in the 1960 grand final.
* It’s the first time a team has been held goalless in the first half of a final since Richmond in the 1927 premiership decider.
* The last time Melbourne went goalless to halftime was round five, 2009.
* West Coast’s 63-point halftime lead is the fifth largest by any team in a final.
* Co-captain Nathan Jones was one of several big names who went missing for the Demons, managing just five disposals to halftime after averaging 24.9 a game for the season.