Eagles gutsy but road questions remain

Questions remain over West Coast’s ability to win away from their Subiaco fortress, despite a spirited effort in their loss to the Western Bulldogs.

The Eagles managed a late surge to trail by just three points late in Sunday’s clash at Etihad Stadium but ultimately fell to their fourth defeat of the season – all of which have come on the road.

West Coast have lost to the Dogs, Hawthorn, Sydney and Geelong away – all currently inside the top five on the ladder – with their only road win against Port Adelaide, who sat outside the eight at the time.

“I thought our performance against Port Adelaide two weeks ago was probably our best win for the year … we’re playing some really good sides on the road,” coach Adam Simpson replied when asked about his team’s worrying away record.

“Clearly, we’re not quite up to those sides at the moment … whether we play them at home or on the road doesn’t matter – we’re just not at that level yet.

“It is what it is … write what you want to write – I’m not going shy away from it.”

All of the Eagles’ wins at home have come against teams outside the eight after 11 rounds.

They face a sterner test at home next week when they host eighth-placed Adelaide, with the Crows coming off an 88-point pounding of St Kilda at Adelaide Oval in Sunday’s late game.

Earlier, Collingwood’s season took a sour turn when they suffered a comprehensive 67-point thumping at the hands of the Power at the MCG.

The win moved Port into ninth spot and sets up a tantalising clash against the Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval next weekend that comes at a pivotal time in the Power’s season.

“I said a couple of weeks ago we were at the corner,” coach Ken Hinkley said.

“We’re having a little look around the corner now (and) we’ve just got to be convinced that we’re going around the corner.”

In Saturday’s action, Geelong emerged from a form flat spot with a hard-fought 10-point win over Greater Western Sydney.

The Giants have now lost their past two matches but lost no fans with their performance at Simonds Stadium where the Cats, led superbly by skipper Joel Selwood, had to dig deep to seal the points in a thrilling encounter.

Hawthorn had to fight equally hard to overcome Melbourne in a wet slog at the MCG. Scores were level at three-quarter time, but the reigning premiers scored three goals to nil to secure an 18-point win that improves their record to 8-3.

Sydney tightened their grip on second spot with a win over Gold Coast in conditions rarely seen, with torrential rain lashing Metricon Stadium.

Carlton heaped more woe on a disappointing Brisbane at Etihad Stadium to make it six wins from their past seven starts, while Fremantle climbed off the bottom of the ladder with their first win of the season – a 79-point drubbing of hapless Essendon at Subiaco.

On Friday night, Richmond’s resurgence came to a shuddering halt with a big loss to North Melbourne in Hobart, the Tigers’ misery compounded by a season-ending knee injury to Steve Morris.

The win maintained the Kangaroos’ one-game gap on the rest of the competition at the top of the ladder.

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