At three-quarter time in Alice Springs, West Coast appeared headed for an upset loss to Melbourne that would have pushed them out of the AFL's top four.
The Demons were up by 10.10 (70) to 10. 4 (64), after trailing by 32 points and would have led by more if they had not wasted their chances in front of goal on Sunday.
But the Eagles' premiership stars lifted, with Elliot Yeo goaling to level the scores, Jack Darling kicking two goals and Dom Sheed sealing a 13-point win after somehow steering through a mongrel kick that bounced favourably.
The Eagles are nicely placed in equal second on 12 wins and five losses, compared to the same stage last year when they were second with 13 and four.
If they had lost a second consecutive match in the Red Centre they would have slumped to fifth and risked falling further down the ladder with Richmond and GWS on their heels.
It was a reflection of how even the competition was, coach Adam Simpson said.
"It happens now more than ever, games are tight almost like basketball and you get to the last quarter and both teams can win," the West Coast mentor told reporters.
"They were a top-four side last year, are getting some players back in and have been in a lot of games this year and probably more than most have lost the tight ones.
"We are really happy about today."
The 14.7 (91) to 11.12 (78) result was the seventh out of 12 defeats this season in which Melbourne have lost by less than four goals.
Melbourne have played five matches there but it was the Eagles' first match at Traegar Park, which had a sell-out crowd of 7164.
It is the AFL's only outback fixture and only match where at least half the crowd is Indigenous with local Aboriginal culture and dancing performances and Melbourne's them song played in the local language.
The Eagles played five Indigenous players in Sunday's team, which equalled a club record set several weeks ago.
They were Liam Ryan, Willie Rioli - who was raised in the Northern Territory on the Tiwi Islands, Lewis Jetta, Jarrod Cameron and Francis Watson, who was a late inclusion and made his debut.
"I am really proud of that, especially playing here as well as it is such a great representative Indigenous community," Simpson said.
"We loved coming here, there is a great support network here for the AFL and also West Coast, it is a shorter flight than Melbourne so we'll take that."
Australian Associated Press