Eagles destroy Kangaroos in elimination final
West Coast smashes North Melbourne by 96 points in Perth to set up a tantalising semi-final against Collingwood next Saturday.PT1M41S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-25m7n 620 349 September 9, 2012
WHATEVER is being said behind the dressing room door, West Coast coach John Worsfold insists the Eagles don't see Collingwood as a vulnerable opponent ripe for the taking in Saturday night's cutthroat semi-final at the MCG, which they tuned up for with a 96-point smacking of North Melbourne yesterday.
Worsfold played the deadest of bats to questioning about his team's impressive display, in which forwards Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling kicked four goals each, Quinten Lynch three, and Andrew Embley four from a wing in a display of hard running that blew the Kangaroos away.
Only a foot injury to defender Beau Waters and match review panel concerns for Lynch over a late first-quarter challenge on Scott McMahon, marred a performance that indicated the Magpies will have to rebound strongly from their loss to Hawthorn.
Eagles coach John Worsfold (extreme right) lines up with his players for the national anthem before the elimination final against North Melbourne. Photo: Getty Images
''I've never, ever felt any opposition are vulnerable,'' said Worsfold.
''Our job is to prepare to go out with a mindset to play our absolute best footy.
''The opposition, we understand their job is the same, bring their best footy to challenge us. We'll be looking forward to that challenge.
''I'm not comparing them this year to last year - last year's irrelevant, as are the previous years. What we face is Collingwood, we know the talent they've got in their line-up, we know how they can play and what they're going to bring.''
Asked if yesterday's showing had emboldened him that his team could challenge for the premiership from outside the top four, Worsfold said he had thought that last week and the week before, too. ''We thought, 'We're in the finals, let's give it a good shake'.
''We've taken one tiny step forward in winning our first final, we earn the opportunity to play against the Pies next week.''
They are likely to do so without Waters, who stopped as if shot early in the second quarter and immediately left the field on the far wing. Initially feared to be an Achilles injury, Worsfold ruled that out and said the medical staff had sent him for scans on his foot, possibly stemming from ''some sort of turf toe'' complaint.
''I'm not really sure what that means in terms of the scope of what type of injury it could be,'' Worsfold said.
''It's a bit of an unknown for us, whether he's going to be available next week or at all for the remainder of the season.''
Asked if the Eagles were better-placed than when they lost an MCG qualifying final to the Magpies last year by 20 points, Worsfold admitted the finals experience gained in 2011 by a young and developing squad was showing benefits in this campaign.
''We've still got a developing squad, a lot of players only played first finals last year. I don't know if 'Coxy's' [Dean Cox] better prepared this year, but [Luke] Shuey, Scott Selwood, [Nic] Naitanui, those guys have learnt a lot from playing in a finals series last year.''
Kennedy has played only seven games this year and Embley six, but now they have three and five games respectively under their belts since returning from injury. Worsfold acknowledged that his team was coming together at the right time.
''We've played some pretty good footy throughout the year, but in terms of Kennedy and Embley back in the team, we haven't had them back in and really match-hardened since the first few rounds of the year,'' Worsfold said.
He was not concerned about facing the Pies off a six-day break, saying the nine days since the round-23 loss to Hawthorn had helped freshen his players up and left ''a little bit in the tank''.
The Eagles are a chance to get Matt Rosa back from a shoulder injury, which followed a three-week lay-off after a knock to the jaw.
Worsfold said Rosa rated himself ''absolutely every chance'' to face Collingwood.