Suns seal Eagles upset through late Wright goal
If you're looking for answers for the Eagles' shock three-point loss to the Gold Coast Suns, you may want to start by looking at the last 46 seconds of the match.
Peter Wright had just registered a behind, giving West Coast skipper Shannon Hurn one last chance to propel the Eagles into attack from a kick in.
But instead of using that booming right foot of his with a kick up the corridor, Hurn chipped the ball 20 metres to Sam Mitchell.
The clock continued to count down, as Mitchell vacillated between several options.
After being called to play on, he chose to chip it to Lewis Jetta, who was on the boundary side of the 50m arc.
By this stage - with the Eagles seemingly unaware of the little precious time that was left - the majority of Gold Coast players had clogged up the corridor and manned up their opponents.
Jetta kicked to a pack only to have the ball turned over with a Tom Lynch mark.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson suggested the passage of play typified the Eagles' game, which he described as "disappointing".
"There was a lot of work done to get up by 10 points late in the game," Simpson said.
"There were moments in those last few minutes when we lost our composure. Some experienced players didn't handle it too well That's one.
"You've got to question whether the boys knew there was that much time on the clock. We were definitely screaming it from the bench. We need to look at that.
"I would have thought the damage was done before the last minute of the game, but they're the kind of moments you need to be really predictable and we weren't."
It was the Eagles' third loss in a row, after previously falling short to GWS and Essendon.
Without Josh Kennedy (calf), Adam Simpson's charges were rudderless up forward.
Jack Darling was held goalless, while Jeremy McGovern was thrown forward in the final term to some success.
The West Coast players were visibly distressed after the siren, prompting Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall to question how the club was poised at the midway mark of the season.
"Looking at the faces of some of the West Coast Eagles players, they're shattered," Dunstall said.
"They know what this means. They're in a hole. They've got a lot of work to do if they think they're going to play any significant part in 2017."
SUNS BACK IN ROCKET'S GOOD BOOKS
RODNEY Eade demanded his players stand up.
And it was the tallest of them all who landed the fatal blow.
With only 90 seconds to go, Peter Wright kicked a booming set shot to put his side in front. It was the sealer and ensured the Suns would defeat the Eagles for the first time in the club's history.
"I was pretty grateful the ball came my way in the end," Wright said on Fox Footy.
"They're a really good side. We obviously weren't happy with the second half last week or in Shanghai. We had to stand up. It was really good for us."
It was Gary Ablett who delivered the spearing bullet pass to Wright, the cherry on top of his commanding 36-possession match.
The dual Brownlow Medal winner intimated the Suns had a blueprint to unsettle the Eagles - and it worked.
"It was a very important win. West Coast is a really good side," Ablett said on Fox Footy.
"We know they like to kick the ball and if we could get them to handball, put pressure on them then we were a chance. We're happy with the win, but there's still plenty to work on."
At half time, with the Suns leading by five points, Ablett pulled in his teammates to remind them of the importance of finishing off the match.
"We said it needs to be a four quarter effort. We played well for a half last week and let the game slip," Ablett said.
"We wanted to make sure that didn't happen today. We were really happy with the effort."