West Coast suffered just their third scoreless opening quarter in club history amid a sputtering start against North Melbourne.
The Eagles opened the game as one of the shortest-priced favourites of any team this season, rated by bookies as a $1.08 lock against the struggling Roos.
But it didn’t go to script early.
North Melbourne enjoyed a 9-5 clearance edge and surged forward at every opportunity to hold a 2.4 (16) to 0.0 (0) edge – and they perhaps should have been further in front.
Todd Goldstein outworked Nic Naitanui around the ground with six disposals and four marks, while Shaun Higgins had eight touches and a goal to lead the Roos.
Andrew Gaff had eight in the first term for West Coast, but had little support.
The scoreless first term was the Eagles’ first since losing to St Kilda at Waverley Park all the way back in 1998.
The good omen for West Coast? The last time they had a goalless opening quarter against North Melbourne was when they fell behind 0.2 (2) to 3.4 (22) in the 2015 preliminary final.
That night, Josh Kennedy sparked a second-term turnaround to help the Eagles book a grand final berth with a 25-point win.
West Coast must win tonight to keep their chances of a top-four finish alive, dependent on a loss from Richmond or Geelong.