Eagles showing what it takes to be champions
From BERNIE SLATTERY in Melbourne
REIGNING Australian Football League premiers West Coast Eagles gave an awesome warning to finals aspirants by delivering a 48-point drubbing to North Melbourne in Perth on Saturday night.
The Eagles emphatically disposed of this season's big improvers, racing away winners, 12.19 (91) to 5.13 (43).
The result should worry other contenders as the ball-handling skills displayed by both sides were far superior to those presented so far by other AFL teams.
North Melbourne's slim hopes disappeared midway through the third term as captain Wayne Carey jogged from the field while Eagles forward Brett Heady snapped truly a the other end of the field.
Carey came off second best in a head clash and left the ground with blood streaming from his scalp and, although he returned towards the end of the quarter, was eclipsed by Glen Jakovich for most of the night.
GEELONG maintained their unbeaten run under the inspiring leadership of veteran superstar Gary Ablett to defeat Collingwood by 27 points at Kardinia Park on Saturday.
Ablett kicked seven goals after opening his account from a trademark 'screamer' above the pack early in the first quarter.
In the absence of captain Garry Hocking, Ablett led the Cats to their third consecutive win, downing the disorganised Magpies 18.14 (122) to 14.11 (95).
Ablett was well assisted by rangy ruckman John Barnes, who accounted for three opponents, and athletic midfielder Shane Breuer, who has 'top-class' stamped all over his game.
The Magpies are clearly struggling and now face the daunting task of meeting highly-rated Essendon next round and North Melbourne the following week.
Collingwood gained solace from a six-goal haul by full-forward Saverio Rocca and four goals from glamour player Dermott Brereton who made a fine debut for his new club.
Geelong coach Gary Ayres was delighted with the Cats all-round effort which blended uncharacteristic hard play at ground level with steaks of brilliance on the forward line.
'I thought it was a very good effort,' said Ayres.
'We played the game the way we talked about it during our team tactics meeting and it was a good win in the conditions.' FAST-FINISHING Sydney lost by five points for the second week in a row when Brisbane held on grimly yesterday to win at home, 15.14 (104) to 14.15 (99).
After trailing by 31 points with nine minutes to go, the Swans swept over the tiring Bears to almost snatch a last-gasp thriller.
The win puts Brisbane into the AFL top eight with two wins from three games, while Sydney will anticipate a win at home next week against battling Fitzroy, who were Fremantle's first AFL victims on Saturday, to open their 1995 account.
RICHMOND had better traction in the slush to down Hawthorn 4.16 (40) to 5.4 (34) in a continuous Melbourne downpour yesterday.
After managing only 1.11 to four goals straight at half-time, the Tigers booted truly three times in the third term.
Richmond's defence bullocked out Hawthorn's potentially lethal forwards and Jason Dunstall scored only one goal to celebrate his exoneration by the AFL tribunal on a charge of disputing an umpiring call.
The Tigers' best were half-backs Michael Gale and four-club veteran Stuart Wigney.