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West Coast Eagles

Five things we learned against the Dockers

Rd 4 highlights v Dockers The Eagles and Fremantle go head to head in Saturday's RAC Derby

1. The exploits of experienced defenders Shannon Hurn, Jeremy McGovern, Brad Shepard and Tom Barrass have long been lauded. But the next generation of defenders are growing by the week. Liam Duggan and Tom Cole were important members of the premiership team and look comfortable in the back half. Along with Josh Rotham, in just his second game, they held up nicely in the defensive and were effective with their foot skills.

2. It’s a similar situation the midfield where Eliiot Yeo, Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff are the headline acts, but the support crew is critical. Dom Sheed and Jack Redden shared the player of the finals mantle last year and they were again important against the Dockers – not only racking up good numbers but their pressure around the ball was exceptional.

3. Every club has a player that is often targeted by their own fans. It’s bewildering and obviously if the particular player was not doing his job, he wouldn’t be selected. At the Eagles that man is often Chris Masten and those critical of his efforts need to take the blinkers off. He was terrific against Fremantle, had 16 possessions and seven marks connecting defence to attack. He was prepared to pull the trigger on challenging kicks, both through the midfield and into the attacking arc, and had a good success rate. Sacrificial running is another great asset in his weekly output.

4. It’s sometimes good to walk away from a game knowing your team was below its best but ultimately there is a tick in “W” column. That was the case with the first RAC Derby, which certainly wasn’t one for the time capsule. The game review early this week will focus on some of those areas that fell short expectation and the players will be better next week.

5. The West Coast Eagles WAFL side scored an important win against Peel in the curtain raiser and that was terrific for morale and unity. The WAFL Eagles were belting out their rendition of the club song, complete with the new chant ,as AFL preparations were ramping out. It was enthusiastically embraced by the senior Eagles getting ready for the AFL battle who roundly congratulated their clubmates.