The Western Bulldogs survived a late charge by West Coast to score a thrilling eight-point win at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The Eagles kicked three unanswered goals to trail by just three points with five minutes to play, but the Dogs dug deep to record a spirited 12.11 (83) to 11.9 (75) win in front of 28,769 fans.
The much-anticipated clash between the top-four hopefuls lived up to expectations with the desperation shown by both sides giving the contest a finals-like atmosphere.
The Bulldogs lived up to their reputation as one of the best pressure teams in the competition, their midfielders' hard work helping negate the influence of star Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui as they went on to win the contested possession count 152-114.
The Eagles lost no admirers with their determined effort but ultimately fell to a defeat that leaves questions about their ability to win away from Subiaco unanswered.
Lachie Hunter, Jack Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli were important in the Bulldogs' midfield, while Matthew Boyd and Matt Suckling impressed across half-back.
Key defender Marcus Adams claimed another scalp, this time keeping West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy to just one goal.
Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis was outstanding for the visitors with a team-high 27 touches, with Andrew Gaff and Shannon Hurn also influential.
Both sides lost key players before the game, the Dogs losing influential defender and stand-in skipper Easton Wood to a hamstring injury, while West Coast's Jeremy McGovern withdrawn due to illness.