So much went so right for West Coast this season, which made it all the more glaring when so much went so wrong for them in Saturday’s AFL grand final.
Adam Simpson masterminded a miserly defensive strategy without his two key defenders, Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy spearheaded the second-most potent attack in the competition and prolific onballer Matt Priddis followed up his Brownlow Medal season with another strong campaign.
But it counted for little on Saturday.
“It was very similar to everyone,” a dejected Priddis said of his performance.
“I had patches or moments when I was in the game and moments when I wasn’t having an impact.
“They’re a very experienced side and they were too good for us today. Their ball use, their contested footy and their ability to kick goals was really the difference.”
Whether it was Luke Shuey missing an open target going inside 50, Sam Butler or Priddis missing crucial chances at goal or Jack Darling dropping a chest mark – West Coast fluffed their lines on the biggest stage on far too many occasions.
Priddis, however, dismissed the notion that his side had suffered from a chronic case of stage fright.
“I don’t think that was the case at all,” he said.
“I think we were really composed … it was just that final execution of hitting that target that you need to hit then you’re almost through.
“We were a bit off in that area.
Still, Priddis was pleased with the Eagles’ season, particularly given they didn’t even makes the finals in 2014.
“We’ve had a really steep rise this year coming from ninth,” he said.
“I’m so proud of the club, every single player, the coaching staff … we’ve really worked hard to get to this point. But we’re not satisfied.
“We didn’t want to just rock up here today and just hope, we believed we were good enough, but it shows we’ve got a lot of work to do.”