AFL Eagles coach defends patchy LeCras

West Coast coach Adam Simpson has leapt to the defence of patchy star Mark LeCras, but admits the classy forward needs to improve his output on the road.

LeCras’ form has largely mirrored that of the Eagles this AFL season – hot at home, but ice cold on enemy territory.

The 29-year-old has averaged 19 disposals at Domain Stadium this season, but just 13 possessions away from Perth.

More concerning has been his lopsided goal count, with just one of his 17 goals coming away from home.

LeCras remains an integral part of West Coast’s set-up, with his ability to mix duties between the midfield and attack giving Simpson vital flexibility.

But Simpson says it’s time for the 2010 All-Australian to become more consistent away from home.

“We want to get him up and going,” Simpson told Perth radio station 6PR.

“We know his best is really good, and I’m sure he’d be the first to admit there’s been a few patches this year where he’s been a little bit off.”

LeCras has proven he can perform on the road, booting a career-best 12 goals against Essendon at Etihad Stadium in 2010.

And although his overall output is down this year, Simpson said LeCras had been a key player in the club’s 7-3 start to the season.

“He’s our go-to I suppose if we need extra help in the midfield and if we’d like to get more supply (to our forwards),” Simpson said.

“He plays a really important role. You can’t just judge his game on possession or goals.

“There’s lots of things he does off the ball that really helps our side.”

The Eagles will be aiming to make it four wins on the trot when they take on the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

West Coast broke their away hoodoo with a win over the Power in Adelaide two weeks ago, but the Bulldogs present a much tougher challenge.

“They seem to have gone to another level, particularly in defence,” Simpson said of the Bulldogs, who finished sixth on the ladder last year.

The Eagles will be bolstered by the return of wingman Andrew Gaff (concussion), while Elliot Yeo (quad) could also be in the selection mix.

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