West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey says the team’s ability to win ugly could prove to be a major advantage come finals time.
The Eagles are just percentage adrift of fourth spot after escaping with a scrappy seven-point AFL win over Carlton at the MCG on Sunday.
West Coast have struggled to recapture the form they displayed during last year’s run to the grand final, but they’ve done enough to put themselves into the premiership mix.
Shuey admits the team’s win over Carlton was an ugly game to watch.
But he said it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“Finals footy is like that. You’ve got to win ugly in finals,” Shuey said on Monday.
“Not too many games in finals you win by a big margin.
“Hawthorn smashed us on grand final day, but I can’t remember too many finals where there’s been massive wins.
“They’re generally ugly and pretty contested, dirty sort of games. The most disappointing part was we had our chances to ice the game yesterday and we didn’t take them.”
West Coast took the competition by surprise last year, with the ‘Weagles Web’ defensive system proving a huge success.
However, opposition sides have been far more attuned to West Coast’s tactics this year, making it harder for Adam Simpson’s charges to catch rivals off guard.
“But it’s still no excuse for not being able to play your best football,” Shuey said.
“Teams have known how good Hawthorn are for the last six years, but they keep on winning premierships.
“We can’t use that as an excuse when we play poor. It’s not an easy fix, but we’re still reasonably happy with where we’re at.
“We’ve got to keep working hard, keep being honest with each other, and hopefully things click into gear.”
The Eagles will start as hot favourites to notch their fifth straight win in Saturday’s clash with Melbourne at Domain Stadium.
West Coast then take on strugglers Collingwood (MCG) and Fremantle, giving them an excellent chance to push for a top-four berth.
Star ruckman Nic Naitanui is on track to return for either the Dockers clash, or the August 13 showdown with GWS at Spotless Stadium.