Premiership fancies Melbourne may have convincingly beaten the Eagles on Sunday afternoon, but West Coast brought competitiveness in droves, according to spearhead Josh Kennedy.
While the Eagles may have fallen away in the fourth quarter, their resolve in the second and third stanzas was much-improved on weeks’ prior, despite eventually falling to the undefeated Demons by 74 points.
Narrowly losing the second and third quarters by seven points and two points respectively, the Eagles’ spirited effort did not go unnoticed, but the team will look to improve on football fundamentals ahead of a trip to face Greater Western Sydney.
“The second and third quarters I think we were really competitive, I think the boys really stood up around the contest and we were able to get the ball moving forward,” Kennedy told 6PR.
“In the last quarter we kind of faded out, but overall, some of it was skill error and the turnovers that happened they were able to score from it, which took that lead.
“But everything else was looking okay and I think the boys put up a bit of an effort against the best team in the competition.
“A lot of the time with these games, it’s momentum, being able to just slow momentum down, and we’ve seen a lot of momentum shifts in the game this year.
“They’re probably the times you can really stop a game from blowing out, so learning on how to do that as best you can.”
The fight and aggression from Connor West was also of note, with the youngster piecing together his best performance at AFL level, with 27 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances.
Alongside experienced Eagle Tim Kelly, the duo were key performers across the match, with midfield bull Elliot Yeo pleased at the development of West Coast’s younger cohort.
“The team that we put out there had a fair crack, there were positives in that as well, I thought ‘Westy’ had a really good game, ‘TK’ stood up as well,” Yeo told 96FM.
“I thought they had a crack, that’s for sure, you can certainly tell that ‘Westy’ and ‘TK’ were the ones driving that and trying to get it forward, there was positive signs there but unfortunately it’s not enough.
“The opportunity that the younger players are getting at the moment definitely helps for the future as well.
“The more experience that you can get into the younger players, the quicker it can help them develop as well.
“So, it’s a bit of a positive that’s for sure.”
West Coast now prepare to take on GWS this Sunday, with the Giants now under the command of caretaker coach Mark McVeigh.
But the Eagles could be expecting a boost of their own, with skipper Luke Shuey (hamstring) and prolific wingman Andrew Gaff (quad) eyeing a return.
“It could be a big weekend for them (Giants) and then the new coach who’s there,” Kennedy said.
“We know the challenge ahead of going over to Sydney and playing them there, they’ve got some really good talent, they’re a quality outfit.
“So we’ve got to keep sticking to our process, bring that effort and hopefully with the fundamental stuff that we keep getting better each week, and hopefully less turnovers here and there.
“The fundamental stuff we need to get better at and we can do that during the week at training, that’s what they need to do.”