West Coast coach Adam Simpson says his side’s failure to finish off Gold Coast shows where the Eagles must improve to become a genuine AFL premiership threat.
The high-flying Eagles drew 11.17 (83) to 12.11 (83) with the Suns at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night, with Tom Lynch’s goal four seconds from the final siren snaring the home side a share of the spoils.
The two premiership points do come in handy for West Coast, who now enjoy a six-point buffer over third position on the ladder, ahead of arguably their toughest fortnight of the season.
Simpson admitted there was something off about his side’s effort.
“You look at the stats and everyone’s got their numbers, even some of our KPIs look good, but it just didn’t feel like us tonight,” Simpson said.
“You’ve got to give credit to Gold Coast and how they played and what they did to deny us what we’ve been pretty good at.
“The collective wasn’t quite on tonight.”
Poor goalkicking was one of the major factors – West Coast had five more scoring shots than the Suns, but missed an array of chances on goal that came at crucial times.
But Simpson was reluctant to solely blame inaccuracy for the result.
“The game wasn’t played on our terms and we didn’t handle situations the way we had recently,” he said.
“I always thought the maturity of our group was still building and we’re not quite there yet.
“You’ve got to go through situations where sometimes you are a bit off but you still get it done.
“How you handle those situations, how you handle the pressure, expectations, all those things, is part of the bigger picture.
“We’re really disappointed with the result of the game, but we’ll learn from it.”
The Eagles must now dust themselves off and prepare for games against Hawthorn (home) and Fremantle (away), a two-game stretch that will determine how serious West Coast’s top four hopes really are.
“We’ve got a massive challenge this week,” Simpson said.
“We’ve been up for a long time and we’ve got a really tough run in front of us.
“We’re playing the reigning premiers and I don’t know the last time Hawthorn lost two games in a row, but that’s our challenge.”