West Coast have produced plenty of sexy moments in their 77-point win over Gold Coast, but coach Adam Simpson knows his team will need to do the ugly stuff well if they are to beat the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
The Eagles maintained their perfect record at home on Sunday in the 20.12 (132) to 7.13 (55) romp over the Suns, with forward Josh Kennedy booting five goals one day after welcoming his first child into the world.
Luke Shuey (26 disposals) and ruckman Nic Naitanui (37 hit-outs) were also crucial, while Lewis Jetta found some form with 17 disposals and three score assists in his first game back from a two-week WAFL stint.
West Coast’s ball movement was sublime at times, with the Eagles skipping away to a 71-point lead midway through the third quarter.
The win lifted West Coast (7-3) to be equal on points with third-placed Geelong.
But their credentials will receive a major test when they take on a Bulldogs outfit renowned for their sexy, clean style.
West Coast’s form away from home has been patchy, and Simpson knows his team will need to get their hands dirty if they are to come away with a win against the sleek Bulldogs next Sunday.
“If we try to encourage perfect play, we’re not going to win too many games,” Simpson said.
“I’m more encouraged by the goals that are dirty – the surge from a stoppage, the crumb, the contest that we win.
“The clean footy looks good. Don’t get me wrong, I like that. But they are hard to do all the time.
“I think you have to win ugly and when it gets closer and closer to finals-type football. There isn’t much pure football that you see in transition.”
The injury-hit Suns were made to pay for some horror turnovers in defence.
Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade struggled to control his frustrations at times during the match, but he’ll have the luxury of recalling up to five players for Saturday’s clash with the Swans at Metricon Stadium.
Kade Kolodjashnij is expected to be available despite being hospitalised for an abdominal issue, while Rory Thompson, Callum Ah Chee, Sam Day, Touk Miller, Jarrad Grant, Matt Rosa and Trent McKenzie could also be in the mix.
The Suns (3-7) have lost seven games on the trot to slip three wins adrift of eighth spot, but Eade hasn’t given up hope of making a late charge to the finals.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve got more injuries than last year but the positive is most of them will be back,” Eade said.
“There’ll be some quality coming back next week and the week after.
“I think we can help shape the eight and that might mean we might be able to push for it.”
Skipper Gary Ablett tried hard for the Suns, finishing with 32 disposals and eight clearances
But inexplicable turnovers cost Gold Coast dearly.