West Coast midfielder Chris Masten rejects any suggestion the club’s shock finals loss to the Western Bulldogs was linked to this year’s controversial bye after the regular season ended.
The Eagles stormed home to win nine out of their final 10 matches including wins against highly ranked Hawthorn, Greater Western Sydney and Adelaide, the latter two away.
The Bulldogs went into Thursday night’s elimination final after a loss to lowly Fremantle in Perth and mixed end to the year.
“I don’t buy that momentum thing. All a couple of extra days can do is freshen a few blokes up,” Masten told AAP.
“We got some blokes to play that we wouldn’t have (without the bye) – they probably did as well.”
The 27-year-old, who had 10 kicks and 14 handballs in his 161st game, said he was unhappy with how he played.
He felt the players had trained well leading into the match after finding form in the final two months of the home and away season.
“We were up and down this year but I think the way we finished off the year was pretty good … we felt like our best could beat anyone,” Masten said.
“We expect to play really deep in finals and push for a grand final but we haven’t done that.
“We played below what we know we’re capable of and it’s going to be a really tough pill to swallow over a long summer.”
He said the Eagles were unable to handle the Bulldogs playing a “flicking it around, high-paced, high-octane run gun footy” that they knew was their style.
“We just didn’t rock up … and the Bulldogs were very good,” he said.
“They were cleaner, better in the contest, we were beaten in pretty much every area on the ground.
“You are not going to get close when the game is like that.”