PERTH and the West Coast Eagles put on quite the show combining for 31 goals at Mineral Resources Park in Round 1 of the WAFL season on Saturday, but the Demons finished the stronger to win by 13 points.
The two teams set the tone for the afternoon with a 12-goal opening quarter and both sides were able to have periods of being in control.
Perth threatened to run away with it leading by 24 points midway through the third quarter. But West Coast turned the tide and when Isiah Winder kicked his fifth goal early in the last term, the Eagles led by 10 points.
But the Demons responded to kick the next five goals of the game and that ultimately was enough to secure the eventual 16.12 (108) to 15.5 (95) victory.
Conor McPartland kicked three goals from six kicks for Perth while Doulton Langlands, Marshall Jones and Fraser McInnes all added two.
Chris Masten had a rough end to 2020 through injury but started last season on fire for Perth and picked that back up on Saturday with 29 possessions and seven inside-50 entries.
Brady Grey also collected 27 disposals for the Demons, Josh Smith 23, Matthew Taylor 23, Brent Edmonds 23, Regan Clarke 21, Austin Davis 21, Jacob Coniglio 21 and Langlands 20.
Isiah Winder kicked the five goals for West Coast with Nathan Vardy booting four to go with 15 possessions and 35 hit outs. Jake Waterman and Cooper Nitschke also kicked two apiece.
Xavier O'Neill was impressive for West Coast with 31 possessions while Zane Trew gathered 24 disposals, Luke Foley 24, Brayden Ainsworth 24, Hamish Brayshaw 24, Alex Witherden 21 and former Demon Lennon Marlin 21.
Perth made the perfect start to its 2021 season with the opening three goals of the game through Fraser McInnes, Conor McPartland and Corey Byrne. The Eagles did respond with a couple of quick goals to Ethan Hansen and Kieran Hug with the remarkable opening term just warming up.
Doulton Langlands got a fourth for Perth in response but it was all West Coast to close the quarter with five of the last six goals. That saw the Eagles kick seven goals in the opening term but the Demons still kicked five in a stunning 12-goal first quarter.
Kicking straight proved a challenge for the Demons in the second quarter but still they kicked the only three goals of the term courtesy of Marshall Jones with a couple and then Jaiden Hunter with another to help them to a 12-point half-time edge.
McPartland added a second for himself to open the second half well for Perth and Regan Clarke kicked them out to a 24-point lead, but the Eagles whittled that down and the combination of Winder and Nathan Vardy was wreaking havoc.
When Winder scored right on three quarter-time, the Eagles were just a point down and then Jake Waterman put them in front to start the final stanza. Yet another goal to Winder saw their lead grow to 10 points, but building on the confidence of reaching the finals last year, Perth wouldn’t lie down.
Th Demons regained the lead with goals to Jye Clark and Langlands before Josh Smith, Michael Sinclair and McPartland put it out of reach of the Eagles in a thrilling opening round contest at Lathlain.
OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – ROUND 1
PERTH 5.2 8.8 11.10 16.12 (108)
WEST COAST EAGLES 7.0 7.2 12.3 15.5 (95)
PERTH: Goals – McPartland 3; Langlands, Jones, McInnes 2; Byrne, Smith, Sinclair, Clarke, Rogers, Clark, Hunter.
Best – Masten, Grey, Langlands, Smith, Taylor, Davis.
WEST COAST EAGLES: Goals – Winder 5; Vardy 4; Waterman, Nitschke 2; Hug, Hansen.
Best – O'Neill, Trew, Vardy, Winder, Marlin, Ainsworth, Brayshaw.