Geelong has held off an improved West Coast outfit to record their ninth win of the season by 18 points.
The triumph also gets Chris Scott’s men back inside the top four ahead of what is arguably the easiest run home of all the top four contenders.
In enemy territory, the Cats wrestled their way on top early as danger signs grew for West Coast fans who had seen their side lose seven of their last eight by more than 50 points.
But similar scenes wouldn’t follow as Adam Simpson got an improved effort from his troops. The crowd at Optus Stadium were so shocked with the Eagles’ four consecutive goals in the second term to square the ledger that they simply stood and applauded.
They snatched the lead early in their third term with a point but were in front for all of 66 seconds as Geelong hit back immediately through Isaac Smith.
Key forward Tom Hawkins also booted his 700th goal in the premiership quarter, finishing with 3.2 from ten possessions.
Despite plenty of momentum in the final term West Coast blew their chances, the Cats doing enough when the game was on the line to depart Perth with the precious four points.
The attention now turns to the severity of Jeremy McGovern’s rib injury.
The Eagles fielded their best team this season for only a little over a quarter until McGovern was cleaned up by a knee from Geelong’s Jeremy Cameron. The 30-year-old struggled to get to his feet and was subbed off soon after.
He missed games earlier this year with a back injury but has been West Coast’s most consistent player this season when they’ve taken to the field.
However, despite the fate that awaits McGovern, West Coast finally got its ducks in a row on Saturday and the result was far better than what many feared it would be.
McGovern was joined in the ins by Elliot Yeo (22 disposals, nine marks), Willie Rioli (12 disposals, one goal) and Luke Shuey (20 disposals, five tackles), with further troops to return later in the season.
West Coast: 2.3, 6.5, 8.6, 9.9. (63)
Geelong: 4.4, 6.5, 11.6, 12.9. (81)
West Coast: Cripps 2, Waterman 2, Kennedy 2, Petruccelle, Rioli, West
Geelong: Stengle 3, Hawkins 3, Menegola 2, Smith, Duncan, Cameron, Close
West Coast: Redden, Cripps, Waterman, Barrass, Gaff
Geelong: C. Guthrie, Menegola, Atkins, Stengle, Tuohy
West Coast: McGovern (Ribs)
Geelong: N / A