Eagles can't think of AFL top-four: coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles can't think of AFL top-four: coach

By Justin Chadwick 20/08/2011 08:07:22 PM Comments (0)

West Coast coach John Worsfold won't let his players assume they are destined for a top-four AFL finish despite the Eagles all but locking up a double finals chance with their 57-point demolition of Essendon at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.

Essendon led by one point at half-time but the loss of Andrew Welsh and Jobe Watson to concussion proved telling in the heat as West Coast ran over the top of their ragged opponents to post the 20.14 (134) to 11.11 (77) victory.

To cap a horror day for the Bombers, Stewart Crameri dislocated his right shoulder in the dying minutes of the match, although Essendon coach James Hird was hopeful the forward - along with Watson and Welsh - would be fit for next week's must-win clash with Port Adelaide.

The Eagles' 15th victory of the year moved last year's wooden spooners ahead of Carlton and into fourth spot on the table.

The Blues have a bye next week before taking on St Kilda in the final round, meaning the Eagles can lock up fourth spot with a win over either Brisbane (Gabba) or Adelaide (Patersons) over the next fortnight even if Carlton beats the Saints.

But Worsfold said focusing on the need to win just one more game could have a negative effect on his player group.

"That's like a disincentive isn't it?" Worsfold said.

"Adelaide have been playing pretty good footy and had a big win (over Gold Coast), so they're going to be no easy beats.

"And Brisbane in Brisbane is always tough.

"Fourth in round 22 doesn't mean anything. Round 24 is where we want to make sure we're in a good position."

Essendon, who have a bye in the final round, must now hope a win over struggling Port Adelaide will be enough to secure them a spot in the top-eight.

Eagles vice-captain Beau Waters faces a nervous wait after being reported for his clumsy but far-from-malicious bump on Watson in the third quarter, while Heath Hocking could find himself in strife for a spear tackle on gun Eagles onballer Daniel Kerr.

Scott Selwood also could find himself in trouble for an off-the-ball hit on Bombers defender Jake Carlisle.

Waters' bump on Watson at the 20-minute mark of the third term, which sparked an angry push-and-shove, proved to be the turning point in the match.

The Eagles led by just 14 points at the time, but went on to kick 10 of the next 12 goals to race away with the win.

"I think we were just outplayed by a better team on the day," Hird said, refusing to use the injuries as an excuse for his team's capitulation.

Kerr (25 possessions, two goals) was at his dominating best until leaving the field midway through the final quarter nursing sore ribs after copping a heavy front-on bump from Nathan Lovett-Murray.

Bombers defender Dyson Heppell (26 disposals) again showed maturity beyond his years, but his rival for the AFL Rising Star Award - Luke Shuey - was outstanding for the Eagles, tallying 11 clearances among his 23 disposals in an influential display.

West Coast forwards Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras booted four goals apiece after Eagles sharpshooter Jack Darling was a late withdrawal with a hip injury.

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