Eagles vow to persist with Matera - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles vow to persist with Matera

By James Dampney 13/04/2005 06:44:30 PM Comments (0)

West Coast small forward Phil Matera's goal-scoring exploits over the past few years have saved him from the axe as he struggles to find form after a non-existent AFL pre-season.

Shoulder surgery and a bout of the shingles meant Matera entered season 2005 with no football under his belt, his last game coming in the elimination final loss to Sydney last September.

Matera's 61-goal return last year was the eighth best in the AFL and good enough to lead West Coast's tally for the third straight season and fourth time overall.

In total the pint-sized goal-sneak has kicked 352 goals from 163 games since his debut in 1996, but his return in 2005 makes for dismal reading.

In three games he has managed just nine kicks, five handballs, one goal and one behind.

Both scoring shots came in round one, with Matera drawing blanks against Geelong and Fremantle.

West Coast's unbeaten start to the season, along with the form of young forwards Ashley Hansen and Jaymie Graham, has helped the 29-year-old avoid the spotlight.

Heading into the Eagles' clash with the Western Bulldogs at Subiaco Oval on Saturday, coach John Worsfold said Matera fully deserved some latitude as he attempts to regain form.

"We showed a lot of faith to bring him straight in and that was on what he's earned over a number of years playing for the club," Worsfold said.

"He deserves the opportunity to find his form at this level and that's probably what we expected, that he'd take a while to find his best form.

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