West Coast were competitive in a 28-point loss to Sydney, but the clash likely ended the Eagles’ finals hopes, and possibly Matt Rosa’s season.
Rookie West Coast coach Adam Simpson saw his Eagles’ finals chances end, had an experienced player go down injured and may have lost his star forward in his side’s loss to Sydney at Patersons Stadium.
The Eagles were competitive for the second straight week against a flag fancy, having only lost to Fremantle by seven points the previous round, but they came up 28 points short of Sydney.
West Coast are now three games behind the eighth-placed Gold Coast Suns with seven games remaining, so finals look out of the reckoning in Simpson’s first year in charge.
Then he has likely lost wingman Matt Rosa, who just re-signed for two years last week, with a torn pectoral muscle, while Coleman Medal contender Josh Kennedy will likely face weeks on the sideline for a high bump on Sydney youngster Zak Jones.
A potential Kennedy suspension and Rosa’s injury means Simpson can look at in-form players from the WAFL, with East Perth starting this Saturday night against Brisbane at the Gabba.
Dom Sheed, Brant Colledge, Simon Tunbridge, Adam Carter and Blayne Wilson are among those playing well that will likely receive opportunities either this week or in the short-term.
“There are a lot of good players at East Perth, the kids, we may look at … because there is Rosa to miss definitely and we will see what happens with JK,” Simpson said.
“For the last month in particular we have turned up to play and thrown the kitchen sink at sides and just haven’t been good enough. There are areas of our game and personnel we have got to look at no doubt because we are in the business of winning.”
Nic Naitanui was also a late withdrawal for the Eagles on Sunday following a kickless, markless effort against Fremantle, but he came out both because he was sore and the wet conditions.
Jamie Cripps came in to provide the Eagles with an extra runner while Scott Lycett replaced Naitanui as the ruck partner for Dean Cox and the 21-year-old 16-game big man had an influence with 11 possessions, 32 hit outs and a goal.
Simpson will give Naitanui a chance to get up to play the Brisbane Lions though.
“We wanted to give him a chance to get up and play but we have got Brisbane this week and we have got a bye,” Simpson said.
“We tried to get him to the bye but he is just a bit sore. We gave him every opportunity. The rain as well was a factor in our decision.”