The Eagles continue their stellar run of form, this 32-point victory over the the Hawks extending their winning run to seven in a row. The held the Hawks goalless in the first quarter before running out the game in cruise control to record an easy victory.
Yeah but how will they go outside of Perth?
The Eagles have one more game at home, against the struggling Giants before heading to another hub stint in QLD. There they will face Richmond, Essendon, Bulldogs and St.Kilda.
Honestly, and hindsight is always 20-20 – I think the Eagles early form in the hub was a bit of an aberration. They are steaming ahead now and go into hub life knowing full well what to expect, and that they are headed to the pointy end of the season – I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take 3 to 4 wins in QLD.
How the Game was Won
Elliot Yeo was a late withdrawal for the Eagles – but that didn’t seem to be too much of a factor, with the Eagles holding Hawthorn to a goalless first quarter. NicNat’s influence was again telling, with 16 hitouts-to-advantage, and Flyin’ Liam Ryan was in orbit for a fair part of the game.
The Eagles put on a masterclass in clearance work in the third quarter and piled on three goals in quick succession with two coming directly from the centre bounce. This stanza was probably the killer blow for the Hawks, they never looked in it afterwards.
Brad Sheppard was huge for the Eagles, the defender showing again that he is an underrated star of the competition, with 22 disposals, 8 marks and 433 metres gained. With 34 disposals and five tackles, Tom Mitchell was prolific for the Hawks.
The day was further soured for Hawthorn when James Sicily suffered a suspected ACL injury that will really hamper their run home.
What the Coaches Said
Adam Simpson was happy to bank another four premiership points. “We’ll take the win and move on,” he told reporters post match. “I thought Hawthorn played with plenty of spirit and at stages really troubled us with their field position but overall I think we probably had more bang-for-buck going forward. Our backs held up for the most part although I think we conceded some pretty basic goals”
He also provided some clarity on Elliot Yeo’s withdrawal. “He got a little bit tight last week, we gave him til today..it might be an osteitis – type of issue – he hasn’t pulled up well so he might be out for a few weeks,” he said.
Alastair Clarkson lamented his teams inability to convert early opportunities. “We had a period of attacking for 8 to 10 minutes,” he told reporters. “The inside 50’s were 14 to 7 in our favour, they evened it up a bit later in the quarter but we just couldn’t capitalise. We were a little bit rushed, a little bit too high going inside 50. We had some times in the game where we played some better footy than what we’ve been playing”
He acknowledged that the compressed nature of the season will test the club. “We’ve got a compressed part of the season coming up with three five-day breaks on the bounce,” he said. “So that’s going to present some challenges to us as a coaching staff and conditioning staff in terms of how we manage that.”
He was also able to confirm that the initial signs weren’t good for James Sicily. “He’s got an unstable knee, so that’s not a good sign,” he said. “Whatever happens he’ll miss a period of time. It’s either a medial or an ACL, so we’ve got to cross our fingers and hope for the best.”
WEST COAST 3.4 6.5 11.7 12.9 (81)
HAWTHORN 0.0 2.3 5.6 7.7 (49)
West Coast: Kennedy 3, Ryan 3, Darling 2, Allen, Cripps, Sheppard, Reid
Hawthorn: Gunston 2, Shiels, Burgoyne, O’Brien, Glass, Worpel
West Coast: Naitanui, McGovern, Shuey, Barrass, Sheed, Gaff, Ryan
Hawthorn: Mitchell, O’Meara, Worpel, Day, Scrimshaw, Shiels
West Coast: Yeo (groin soreness) replaced in selected side by Brander
Hawthorn: Sicily (right knee)