Goal kicking troubles plague Eagles

Goal kicking troubles plague Eagles

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.

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

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.

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