MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 08: Tarni White of the Saints and Evangeline Gooch of the Eagles contest the ball during the round four AFLW match between the St Kilda Saints and the West Coast Eagles at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on February 08, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Eagles hold on in thriller to swoop Saints

The West Coast Eagles defeated the St Kilda Saints by two points in a Tuesday night thriller before the Eagles return to Perth.

The West Coast Eagles showed plenty of defensive toughness to hang on in a low scoring second half, and pip the St Kilda Saints by two points.

For the first time in 330 days, and on the plane home to Western Australia, the Eagles will sing the song after breaking their long drought.

With a stiff breeze, both sides were plagued with inaccuracy, kicking nine behinds after halftime, and eighteen for the match, opposed to just four goals.

Jess Matin found the opener, roving a pack and crumbing her own high ball into the goalsquare, before squeaking past the defensive efforts.

It was her last goal for the afternoon, but she finished with 1.3 in a strong performance. It makes back to back strong performances against the Eagles for Matin, who kicked three against the Eagles when the two sides met in 2021.

Aimee Schmidt put the Eagles in front early in the second term, and the Eagles never trailed again.

Kellie Gibson opened up the lead to eight for the Eagles, before Catlin Grieser pegged one back for the Saints, reducing the gap to one point at halftime.

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As the second half wore on, both sides started to feel the physical toll of the last few weeks. For West Coast, it was the final day in a three-week hub, where most players have contracted (and recovered from) Covid-19.

For St Kilda, it was their first game in 17 days, after having consecutive matches postponed due to Covid-19 outbreaks, first within their own team, and then within opponents' camps.

St Kilda hung in, trying desperately to tackle their way to victory, and it seemed to be working.

With just over 90 seconds left in the contest, the ball was kicked deep towards Grieser, but Sarah Lakay intercepted it for the Eagles, putting an end to any hopes of a game-winning goal.

Hannah Priest fought hard for the Saints with 24 disposals, while Tarni White had 13 disposals and eight tackles.

But their efforts were in vain, as the Eagles were more polished and more refined with the ball, and hung on in the end.

Dana Hooker led the way for the Eagles with 20 disposals and five tackles, with Emma Swanson (19 touches, six tackles) and Isabelle Lewis (17 touches six tackles) close behind.

Even though it wasn't an accuracy battle, the Eagles won by virtue of scoring shots, as they head back to Western Australia, after holding on 2.10.22 to the Saints 2.8.20.