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Ball movement the key to Bulldogs triumph

Sam Handcock  May 16, 2017 3:00 PM

AFL 2017 Round 06 - West Coast v Fremantle

Sam Butler says the Eagles have shown signs of improvement the past fortnight

Sam Butler says the Eagles' scrappy, hard-fought win over the Western Bulldogs was exactly what the doctor ordered

The 31-year-old veteran told ABC Radio that West Coast’s ball movement was a key factor to their success, but he reckons the group has plenty to work on if it hopes to challenge the league’s best teams going forward.

“We saw in the first quarter or half … we moved it pretty well, we were pretty attacking minded, we broke through the lines and through the corridor and we were pretty damaging when we got it in to the forwards,” Butler said.

An up-beat Butler said it was evident the Eagles had improved since their bout against Port Adelaide the week prior, a fixture in which they lost every statistical battleground bar the contested possession count.

“Last week against Port Adelaide, their pressure was fantastic. Let us not take that away from them, but perhaps we can work on a few things to get our ball movement up and going from the backline,” he said.

However, Butler believed the team had to better utilise its damaging forward line to topple the Bombers on Sunday.

He said West Coast needed to strike a balance between retaining possession of the ball and getting it deep into its forward 50m to give Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling, Mark LeCras and Josh Hill good looks at the big sticks.

“We have to find a nice balance between waxing in the backline, chipping it around to each other and giving our forwards a chance," he said.

After a question arose about other players speaking of 'critical failures', Butler went on to describe what he meant by the term and how the team strived to eradicate them.

“Critical failures are really just events … during the game that will result in opposition inside 50s and opposition scores,” he said.

“Whether that be a brain fade, a lost contest, or a structural misstep or whatever it is, small little critical failures, we need to eliminate those in the game.”