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Qualifying Final Sydney Showgrounds
Sun, 17 Sep 2017 • 17:25 WST
West Coast Greater Western Sydney
9.4 (58) 19.11 (125)
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AFL Ladder

Team P % Pts
1. Adelaide 22 136.0 62
2. Geelong 22 117.4 62
3. Richmond 22 118.3 60
4. GWS Giants 22 114.9 60
5. Port Adel. 22 129.7 56
6. Sydney 22 126.8 56
7. Essenscum 22 106.5 48
8. West Coast 22 105.7 48
9. Melbourne 22 105.2 48
10. W. Bulldogs 22 97.1 44
11. St Kilda 22 96.9 44
12. Hawthorn 22 90.7 42
13. Coll'wood 22 99.0 38
14. Fremantle 22 74.4 32
15. North Melb. 22 87.6 24
16. Carlton 22 78.2 24
17. Gold Coast 22 76.0 24
18. Brisbane 22 74.3 20


by Matt Quinn
4th October 2015
It's not often that your team gets to a Grand Final, and when they do, you always have belief that they can win. Unfortunately that's not always so - half of all GF teams have to lose after all. And the worst cases are the teams that come from nowhere to make a Grand Final against hardened opposition - it's certainly not unheard of for them to get stage fright and fall at the final hurdle.

So it was for the Eagles in 2015. An amazing ride up the ladder finishing with a disappointing Grand Final loss to the pre-season favourites as Hawthorn completed their hat trick of premierships. The Eagles game plan fell apart under the pressure of both the experienced Hawks and the very nature of a Grand Final - and when you've got a team like Hawthorn, then they will crucify any club for any mistakes.

Oddly, the Eagles started brightly, with a minor score almost from the opening bounce, then the first goal of the match to Luke Shuey. But that was to be the last hurrah, as the Hawks kicked the next five (while the Eagles kicked behinds) to take a 5.0 to 1.5 lead to the first change. But worse was to come, as theEagles panicked, allowing Hawthorn to kick the first three goals of the second quarter, extending the lead to over six goals before the Eagles finally kicked a second goal. A third, kicked after the half time siren narrowed the lead somewhat, but Hawthorn had been accurate, and the Eagles not - exacerbating the pressure, and leaving the Hawks in a dominant position with a 9.3 to 3.8 lead - a margin of 31 points.

The Eagles finally broke out of their shell to start the third quarter, and looked a lot more like the Eagles of 2015 rather than the shell shocked disaster that was the first half. Unfortunately, chances were just blown, and blown badly. The Eagles did kick two of the first three goals, reducing the lead to 24 points, but it should have been less than that with brain fades by a couple of Eagles (let's not talk about the specifics again, they're everywhere), and when the Hawks ran it up the other end to score after a particularly awful error, the energy that West Coast had brought back to the game seemed to float away as the Hawks kicked four straight to put the game beyond doubt with a 50 point (14.5 to 5.9) lead.

Two quick goals to the Hawks after the final change sealed any miniscule lingering doubt, pushing the lead past 10 goals, but they then went into party mode, allowing the Eagles to kick three late goals - the last two to Jeremy McGovern of all people - allowing the lead to be dragged back in to 46 points at the final siren.

Final score: Hawthorn 16.11 (107) d West Coast 8.13 (61) by 46 points.

For the Eagles, Andrew Gaff ran hard all day, Matt Priddis tried hard to overcome a slow start to be a positive contributor, Luke Shuey had moments (unfortunately some bad). Sam Butler was the pick of the defenders, his coolness definitely a standout, though Brad Sheppard also looked solid, while others toiled hard under immense pressure. Up forward it was carnage, with Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling having their worst days out in weeks, Mark LeCras efforts being marred by generally making mistakes and Josh Hill ineffective. To be fair though, they had little chance with the midfield service being not just mediocre, but generally poor.

The whole team had a case of the yips though - shots on goal that should have been taken to put scoreboard pressure on weren't taken, disposal was poor, and attempts to put pressure on the Hawks were ineffectual - clearly shown by the pitiful tackle count of 41.

There's one thing certain - this will burn in the player's minds. Whether it burns them out, or burns them to atone will be seen in the future - we can hope the latter.

Player ratings:
2. Mark LeCras: 5.
- Tried hard, but didn't put it on the board

3. Andrew Gaff: 7.
- Best of the midfielders, ran hard all day and put in a solid effort

4. Dom Sheed: 3.
- Missing in action.

5. Brad Sheppard: 6.
- Worked hard across half back, didn't lower his colours

6. Elliot Yeo: 2.
- Almost unseen, worst game of the year.

7. Chris Masten: 4.
- The injury layoff certainly left him out of sorts last week and this

9. Nic Naitanui: 3.
- Plenty of hitouts, but his needed drive at stoppages was not there

11. Matt Priddis: 6.
- Took a half to get into it, but was serviceable thereafter.

12. Sharrod Wellingham: 3.
- After a brilliant PF, was unsighted in the GF.

13. Luke Shuey: 5.
- Tried hard to take on the game in the 3rd Q, but decision making...

15. Jamie Cripps: 4.
- Did not look at all dangerous all day.

17. Josh Kennedy: 2.
- Completely held by James Frawley. A sad end to a great season

18. Xavier Ellis: 4.
- Didn't do much wrong, but not much right either.

20. Jeremy McGovern: 6.
- Played a solid defensive role. Two late goals were neither here nor there, maybe a sign for the future

22. Callum Sinclair: 2.
- Almost no impact on the game and subbed out.

24. Matt Rosa: 3.
- Subbed in when the game was over.

25. Shannon Hurn: 4.
- A couple of good moments and some shockers. Not a great captain's game

26. Sam Butler: 7.
- His class shone through as clearly the Eagles best defender on the day

27. Jack Darling: 2.
- Enough to say it was a dog of a day for Darling

31. Will Schofield: 5.
- Tried hard under .. well trying circumstances. Beaten, but would have been hard to break even.

33. Josh Hill: 4.
- He's up and down, and this week was more down than up.

34. Mark Hutchings: 5.
- Started awfully, but unlike many of his teammates fought back into the game

So on to 2016....



 
Comments
 
STEVE

2015-10-05 10:03:31
Great year boys. Coaching prep and game day planning was the issue. So colelctively down, no run, no tackling, no manning up, no pressure. can only be one thing - prep.
Say it again, Masten must go. disposal the worst in the Alf under pressure.
 
lornalinn

2015-10-05 13:46:09
yes, it was a brilliant effort to get to the GF and it was really disappointing to see so few at the welcome back affair on Sunday after a reported 10,000 at the training last week. I don't like the tag of fair weather fans but it seems we have more than a few. you had to be there to see the disappointment and hurt on their faces, I am not sure if it was only because of the loss or as well the lack of support from those who never showed up.
So proud of our boys, well done Adam
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