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Goal kicking troubles plague Eagles


Brad Elborough

David Mundy of the Dockers tackles Eagle Matt Priddis during the western derby at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

David Mundy of the Dockers tackles Eagle Matt Priddis during the western derby at Patersons Stadium on Sunday. Photo: Paul Kane

West Coast is evidence that kicking at goal is as important a skill as any other that a team must get right.

After seven rounds, the Eagles are in ninth spot on the AFL ladder, having lost four consecutive games.

In those four games they have kicked a total of 30.51.

The past three they could possibly have won, if not for poor conversion in front of goals.

And it’s starting to take its toll on the coach, Adam Simpson.

“It's frustrating. I reckon I punched the desk a couple of times today and the players would be frustrated,” Simpson said after Sunday’s 19-point loss against Fremantle when the Eagles kicked 7.12.

“The coaches are frustrated. Supporters and members would be frustrated as well when three weeks in a row we've given up starts to games.”

The Eagles kicked 1.8 in the second term against the Dockers to trail by seven points at the break. They lost for the third week in a row despite having more scoring shots than their opponent.

Against Carlton in round six they lost by three points after also having kicked 1.8 in the final term. And in round five they were dismal in front of the big sticks, posting 7.14 in a 14-point loss to Port Adelaide.

“We did have our chances in the second quarter and when we do have momentum at the moment we're not capitalising and other teams are,” Simpson said.

The Eagles aren’t alone in their poor kicking at goals.

While they have managed to boot 81.85 in their seven games, two of the sides above them on the ladder are also behind the tally in terms of goals and behinds (North Melbourne has 77.78 and Collingwood 83.103).

But against West Coast teams are being incredibly accurate, with scores tallying 74.55 against the Eagles so far in 2014.

Simpson is struggling to put a finger on why his team isn’t converting chances.

“I'm not quite sure,” he said. “We haven't put any more pressure on the players to convert. We've merely said keep training it, keep valuing your goalkicking when you train.

“Sometimes you just go out and have a few shots. But it's really important when you're doing it you're doing it with purpose.

“But we're talking about three or four dribble kicks at the top of the goal square sort of stuff. They're the chances you've got to take.”

Mark Hutchings missed two within a minute from less than 15m from the goal line at the start of the second term, that began the Eagles terrible run.

After Brad Shappard missed a shot running into an open goal, the Dockers made the mistakes look worse by kicking a goal, courtesy of Michael Barlow, with their first inside 50 entry for the term.

The Eagles won the quarter by seven points despite having seven more scoring shots and three more inside 50 entries.

West Coast needs to get their scoring sorted out quickly. After hosting GSW next Sunday and then enjoying a bye, the Eagles have a crucial month of games against Collingwood (away), North Melbourne (home), Hawthorn (away) and an improving Gold Coast (home).

Despite their issues in attack, they are likely to resist bringing back Mark Le Cras from injury until after the bye. Le Cras kicked 7.1 in the first two games of this season before breaking his arm early in the round three game against St Kilda.

2 comments so far

  • The Eagles have absolutely no idea how to find space. When they go forward, its like playing Roulette at the casino. Everything is a gamble. Their players have no feel for the game, they look lost like deer in the headlights and their decision making is so negative based, its laughable.

    And this is no blame on Adam Simpson, this is what is still lingering from the Worsfold days where in the end, accountability waned terribly. Simpson will need this season to weed out the pretenders in this side. I would be looking at trading 6 name players, then go back into the draft and get some hungry talent. The Eagles are lacking hunger and a new push is needed to get things going again. Dom Sheed should be fast tracked. Let him play and he will develop.

    Trade Masten, Hill, Cripps, Gaff, McGinnity, Wilson, Newman and if NicNat cant find the ball, he must be looked at as trade bait. I reckon Melbourne would kill for him, and we could use Nathan Jones . Time to stop persisting with pretenders and get results. Some of these Eagles players are too happy with just being Eagles players. The east coast can now see right through this lot.

    Date and time
    May 05, 2014, 3:10PM
    • Agree with your comments 'Reegs', plenty of Eagles happy with putting on the jumper and not too concerned with the result based on the lack of goal kicking, tackling, forward pressure, etc. Glad to see Wellingham out, a one trick pony with no heart for the contest as we all witnessed against Carlton the other week.

      mt hawthorn
      Date and time
      May 05, 2014, 7:41PM

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