Naitanui soars as Eagles beat Giants

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui took a mark-of-the-year contender as the Eagles weathered a late storm to secure a thrilling 11-point win over GWS at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

The Eagles led by 23 points in the third quarter, but found themselves down by one point midway through the final term after the Giants launched a fierce fightback.

However, goals to Willie Rioli and Jeremy McGovern in the dying minutes helped lift the home side to the 13.8 (86) to 10.15 (75) win in front of 52,105 fans.

Naitanui had copped plenty of criticism in recent weeks for his perceived lack of physicality and scarcity of marks.

But the 28-year-old sent the crowd wild when he soared over fellow Eagles ruckman Scott Lycett and 195cm Irishman Aidan Corr to pull down a screamer in the third quarter.

Naitanui landed heavily after the mark, but he soldiered on to take another high-flying grab in the final term. He finished with 41 hit-outs, eight tackles, five clearances and 15 disposals.

"It was a pretty good mark. I was probably more impressed with the other stuff," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"He's been a little bit sore. There was a question mark on whether he should play or not. I'm pretty glad he did.

"I thought our captain Shannon Hurn was exceptional as well. We had contributors across the board."

GWS were made to pay dearly for their inaccuracy in front of goal.

Not only did it cost them victory in this match, but it could prove pivotal in their bid to snare a finals berth.

The Giants dropped from sixth to 10th on the back of the loss.

They are now half a win outside the top eight, with tough fixtures against Richmond and Port Adelaide to come in the next fortnight.

"It's disappointing. We spoke about it just after the game," Giants coach Leon Cameron said about his team's poor goalkicking.

"Interstate, clearly you've got to make sure you nail them.

"Just before three-quarter time we missed two or three that probably could have put us in front coming into the last break.

"We've got to work on that, because goalkicking can win you or lose you matches."

West Coast, who snapped a three-game losing run, are in third spot with an 11-4 record.

Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff was best afield with 41 disposals and two goals, while Luke Shuey and Shannon Hurn were also crucial in the win.

Adam Tomlinson booted 3.0 for the visitors, while Stephen Coniglio (30 disposals, one goal) tried hard.

Both sides entered the match missing an important chunk of their forward line.

West Coast were without Josh Kennedy (leg), Jack Darling (ankle) and Mark LeCras (wrist), while GWS were missing Jeremy Cameron (suspended), Jon Patton (knee) and Toby Greene (foot).