Round 8 – West Coast v St Kilda: A most unhelpful win

I know it sounds perverse, not to mention ungrateful, but West Coast’s colossal hammering of St Kilda at Domain Stadium on Sunday has done the club’s 2016 premiership aspirations no favours.

The notion of the massive win being poor preparation for greater challenges is a footy cliché, and I reckon it rings true with how the Eagles are travelling at the moment.

It’s churlish to spurn four points and a percentage boost, but I fear the Eagles are doomed to repeat history if they can’t get themselves in the best physical and mental shape to be a genuine chance.

2015 was an aberration. West Coast (and Fremantle for 24 games) was simply the best of the non-Hawthorn teams. Hawthorn’s looking vulnerable this year and it pains me to say it but Geelong, North Melbourne and Sydney are arguably greater prospects right now. I don’t think Giants and Bulldogs are ready to taste the ultimate success yet (though of all the teams I’d love to see either of them win the flag).

The biggest worry is the calibre of Eagles players who go missing in Melbourne. The travel bug wouldn’t be as glaring if it were a few youngsters or fringe players getting caught in the headlights on the eastern seaboard. It’s the likes of Kennedy and Darling – the lynchpin to the Eagles game plan – who put in Barry Crockers the moment the clock’s wound forward two hours. You can’t wallpaper over those cracks.

I hope Adam Simpson is working on a plan to overcome this malaise.

Anyway, back to the game. It was a boring, one-sided affair; the proverbial training drill. The Saints are better than that. In fact, my highlight was marvelling at how well Riewoldt is still playing. How many mobile key forwards have been so consistently excellent while playing such a bruising, taxing brand of footy than St Nick?

While I am handing out praise, I’m really pleased with the form and consistency of West Coast’s Brad Sheppard and Liam Duggan. Don’t get the headlines – I doubt opposition supporters would recognise them on the street – but just solid performers this year.

 

West Coast Eagles:   9.3   12.5   15.8   20.12 (132)

St. Kilda:                       1.3    1.9    2.10    3.11 (29)

 

Goals

West Coast Eagles: LeCras 6, Kennedy 5, Hutchings 2, Darling 2, Cripps, Lycett, Hill, McGovern, Yeo.

St. Kilda: Steven, Bruce, Weller.

 

Best

West Coast Eagles: Gaff, Shuey, Naitanui, Kennedy, Masten.

St. Kilda: Montagna, Ross, Riewoldt, Steven, Roberton.

Umpires: Dalgleish, Farmer, Ryan.

Crowd: 36,140.

My votes: Natanui 3 (WCE), Gaff 2 (WCE), Riewoldt  1 (STK).

 

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About Nic McGay

West Coast fanatic living in enemy territory.

Comments

  1. I read it differently on some things Nic. We’re building. It’s a marathon not a sprint. We aren’t the most skilful side, so I rate us on our intensity and pressure. Against the Saints we didn’t ease up like we did against the Magpies. A good sign and our best performance so far this season.
    I think the travel stuff is media hype. Hawks, Swans and Cats would have beaten us at Subi in our current form. We would have beaten Lions, TIgers, Pies and Saints on their home turf. Who would be talking “travel” then? It’s the quality of the opposition not the place.
    I agree with you that there a lot more good teams this year, and the competition won’t fall away as it did in 2015. Still we can be Top 4 if we keep improving and then anything’s possible.
    Agree with you about Nic Nait (my BOG) and Brad Sheppard (our backline is getting it together now). Liam Duggan is improving every week, but is still a bit skinny to break tackles. Will be a gun after a couple more pre-seasons.
    Can’t have Gaff as a star until his disposal improves.
    Its a great footy season and our Eagles will give us a lot to smile about. Cheers.

  2. Nic McGay says

    Yes, PB, plenty of cause for optimism. Perhaps my pessimism was due to enduring a weekend of one too many domestic obligations. Finally, with a best extra stout in hand, I just wanted to watch a bloody good game of footy!

  3. Keiran Croker says

    Nic, I know how you feel. Swans 13 goal win over the Bombers was ordinary. It papered over some cracks that opened last week on the bigger G. Will get a better guide on form over the next two weeks.

  4. Nic McGay says

    KC, I think your swans will be alright. Another WC v Sydney classic would be a nice end to what has been a cracking season so far. You back from your US jaunt? Looks like you had a ball.

  5. Keiran Croker says

    Yep Nic back here now. US was v.good. West Texas, Austin, New Orleans & Nashville all terrific.
    Embracing semi retirement!

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