Eagles don't want to crash land - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles don't want to crash land

By Adam Cooper 27/04/2008 07:09:29 PM Comments (0)

Finals are off the radar, but West Coast plan to treat the remainder of this season as yet another big challenge instead of writing off the campaign and focusing on 2009.

Saturday night's 60-point thrashing at the hands of the Western Bulldogs at Telstra Dome was the Eagles' fifth successive defeat and condemned the club to its equal-worst start to a season, level with the one win and five defeats which began 1989.

Eagles coach John Worsfold conceded after the 20.14 (134) to 11.8 (74) loss his side was unlikely to reach the finals for a seventh straight season, just 30 games after West Coast beat Sydney in the 2006 grand final.

But Worsfold believed the Eagles could win a premiership in the near future with the young, talented players on their list.

He felt the challenge for the rest of this season was another big test for a club which has had its share of dramas in recent years, such as Ben Cousins' drug saga, the scrutiny of the Eagles off-field culture and Chris Judd's departure to Carlton.

"We've faced some massive challenges in the last two to three years, massive challenges and we've met them all head on," Worsfold said.

"We're making massive inroads to building a club that currently stands as one of the most successful clubs in this competition in the period it's been in the competition, and has the potential to even grow in that area."

The defeat to the Bulldogs could have a lasting effect, as Shannon Hurn (corked calf) and Adam Hunter (knee) were injured, Brent Staker was reported for striking Robert Murphy and Daniel Kerr will face scrutiny for an off-the-ball incident against Scott West.

Making matters even tougher for the Eagles, ruckman Dean Cox and defenders David Wirrpanda and Beau Waters played under duress at stages on Saturday night.

But Worsfold had no plans to warehouse his senior players, as he was reluctant to introduce all of the club's younger players immediately.

"We're certainly not going to just throw all the kids to the wolves and let them get torn apart," he said.

"They need to have some senior players around them to protect them and help teach them, so that's a juggling and a balancing act that we'll take on.

"We've been conscious of that and we'll be conscious of that going forward, but players won't play if they don't deserve to play, whether they're young or old."

Worsfold was pleased the Eagles fought Saturday night's game out and out-scored the Bulldogs in the final quarter, and also took heart from the showings of young forwards Josh Kennedy, Ben McKinley and Chad Jones, who worked hard.

But he was disappointed Staker got reported and gave away an unnecessary free kick when he retaliated against Murphy, who confronted him after the Kerr-West clash.

"That's let the whole team down, the whole team pays that price," Worsfold said.

"Is it worth it to fly the flag for Daniel Kerr? There are times when you do have to pay a price and do it and stand up for him, but that incident with Murphy really had no impact on where Kerr was.

"You just have to be smarter about going about it.

"You can still be hard and physical without getting reported or without giving away free kicks."

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