Eagles beat Essendon by 32 points - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles beat Essendon by 32 points

By Adam Cooper 17/07/2010 11:08:05 PM Comments (0)

West Coast forward Mark LeCras booted 12 goals in one of the highlights of the AFL season as the Eagles beat Essendon and ramped up the pressure on Bombers coach Matthew Knights.

LeCras kicked his side's first five goals and reached double figures before three-quarter time which gave the Eagles ample reasons to celebrate a 20.12 (132) to 14.16 (100) win at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

His haul - the equal-highest by any AFL player since Eagle since Scott Cummings booted 14 in 2000 - is the only the third bag above 10 in the past decade.

It bettered this season's previous best, when Richmond's Jack Riewoldt kicked 10 against West Coast in round 12.

LeCras' night out ensured bottom-placed West Coast broke a seven-game losing streak and posted just their third win outside Perth from 26 attempts since the start of 2008 season.

But another shocking Essendon performance will only increase the pressure on Knights, given his side have now lost six games straight and suffered three consecutive poor defeats to teams outside the eight, following poor efforts against Adelaide and Melbourne.

Knights was clearly angry at three-quarter time and spent several minutes addressing his players in the huddle instead of them breaking into smaller groups with assistant coaches.

The Dons began well enough by scoring four of the first five goals but continually made errors and poor decisions.

In contrast LeCras put on a master class of great leading, strong marking and impeccable kicking, and slotted set shots from all corners.

When he kicked his 10th, a beautiful kick from 50 metres, he had kicked more than Essendon had posted (nine), and no Bomber kicked more than one.

LeCras kicked his 11th when he pounced on another Essendon error, had two handballs in a passage and snapped truly and made it a dozen with another great set shot.

Remarkably, he scoffed his easiest chance of the night, when he fumbled in the goalsquare in the second quarter and threw out a boot, but the kick went through for a behind.

Essendon were powerless to stop LeCras, as they tried six players on him throughout the game, starting with Heath Hocking, who had conceded six goals by 20 minutes into the second term.

West Coast had other good players in midfielders Matt Priddis, Matt Rosa and Andrew Embley, ruckman Dean Cox, defenders Beau Waters and Mitch Brown and another small forward in Ashton Hams, who bobbed up for three goals and also troubled Hocking.

LeCras said he felt like it was his night and pleased his teammates began looking for him with their passing.

"It was a pretty rare one for me, I've never kicked 12 before, and obviously it was great to have a win for the boys," he said.

"We've been done for a few weeks so it's a great feeling in the rooms."

West Coast coach John Worsfold said he was most impressed by the number of opportunities upon which LeCras capitalised.

"It was one of those special games, they don't come around very often," he said.

"It has to be right up there. There's not too many bags of goals kicked like that, so that's one of the great forward performances for sure."

Worsfold was also rapt with the Eagles' overall performance given their track record on the road.

"We've had a few efforts at home that we haven't been able to win and been followed up with fairly disappointing efforts away, so it was a step forward to back it up and travel to this ground and perform a lot better than we have recently," he said.

Knights admitted Essendon had reached their lowest point and now had to focus on regaining respect.

"This is as big a hole as we've been in for a while, that's the reality," he said.

"'Confidence' is one of those words they use that just sits up there but no one really knows what it is, but what it (stems from) is preparation, working for each other and a great ethic on the track so we've got to go back to track and train and work hard and look for a few circuit breakers that might get us in a better frame of mind for next week."

But Knights, who is contracted until the end of 2012, still had faith in his own coaching ability or where the Bombers were headed.

"It never feels like a lost cause," he said.

"It's a challenging environment.

"We're going through a really challenging period of what we're endeavouring to put in place for the future ... I've got to make sure I keep working with the players and they have an understanding I'll keep doing that because that's what I'm about.

"Im here for players and here for my boys."

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