West Coast coach Adam Simpson says there’s no reason to fret despite his side’s error-riddled display in Thursday’s three-point win over Gold Coast.
The Eagles were expected to thrash a Gold Coast side missing most of their biggest stars.
Instead, West Coast found themselves trailing 51-22 in the third term, before making a late surge to win 0.7.13 (55) to 1.6.7 (52).
A strong breeze made it tough for the players throughout the match.
But with the Eagles winning the inside-50m count 55-25, the home side should have cruised to a big victory.
Simpson said he wouldn’t read too much into his team’s lacklustre display.
“The conditions were really tricky. It would have been a dirty game to watch,” Simpson said.
“But it was just a good scrap for us. We got a lot of coaching out of it.”
West Coast are now sweating on the fitness of star recruit Lewis Jetta and defender Mitch Brown ahead of their season opener against the Lions on March 27.
Jetta is in doubt for the start of the season after suffering a minor calf injury, while Brown came off with a damaged finger.
Forward Josh Kennedy failed to reappear after halftime because of a head knock, while Patrick McGinnity was also left seeing stars after a heavy bump.
Two major bright points to come out of the match for West Coast was the return of Eric Mackenzie from a knee reconstruction, and a standout performance from swingman Jeremy McGovern.
Mackenzie made it through the game unscathed, while McGovern finished the match with two goals – including the match-winner – after being swung forward late.
McGovern looms as a key player for West Coast at both ends of the ground this season, and Simpson said he was still learning how best to use the 23-year-old.
“He’s an exceptional player,” Simpson said.
“There’s not a heap of swingmen around, so trying to find a system that works for us and for him is going to take a bit of work.
“Every moment is different. I wouldn’t say I get it right all the time (about when to swing him forward).
“That’s going to be a work in progress.”
Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade was thrilled with his team’s effort, especially considering they were missing the likes of Gary Ablett, David Swallow, Jaega O’Meara, Dion Prestia, Matt Rosa, Nick Malceski, Michael Rischitelli and Tom Lynch.
Swallow and O’Meara are set to miss a large chunk of the season through injury, but Eade said Ablett was on track to return from injury for round one.
Eade said Rosa, Malceski, Rischitelli, Steven May, Kade Kolodjashnij, and Lynch were all on track to return for Friday’s final pre-season hit-out against Adelaide at Metricon Stadium.