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West Coast Eagles

WAFL: Eagles succumb to inspired Royals

Development coach Chance Bateman addresses the forwards group at quarter time

West Coast suffered its fourth loss of the season on Thursday night, going down to their former WAFL affiliates by 34-points at Leederville Oval.

In trying conditions, the Eagles struggled to hit the scoreboard as the Royals ran out winners 13.8 (86) to 7.10 (52).

The result gives the Eagles a 2-4 record, with their percentage dropping to 75.5 per cent.

Brayden Ainsworth stood tall for the Eagles, collecting 27 disposals, while Matthew Allen continued his impressive form with 20 disposals and one goal. Keegan Brooksby once again dominated the ruck contest, tallying 29 hit-outs and one goal.

Royals midfielder Rohan Kerr continued his stellar season with 28 disposals, while Mitchell Dobson was dominant up forward kicking three goals.

Dobson got the Royals off the mark by kicking the first goal inside the first minute, before Xavier O’Neill booted the Eagles’ first at the nine-minute mark. A late goal by former Eagle Patrick McGinnity stretched the home side’s lead out to 11-points at the first break.

Goals were hard to come by for the Eagles in the second quarter, an Allen set shot five minutes in being the only moment of joy for the visitors in what was a tough term. Goals to Dobson, Shaquille Mackenzie and Ajang Ajang helped the Royals break away to a commanding 25-point lead at half-time.

After a tough first half, the Eagles fought their way back in the contest to start the third.

Back-to-back goals by Josh Smith and Brooksby brought the margin back to just 13-points, before Nathan Blee steadied the Royals’ ship, kicking East Perth’s first goal of the term.

The Eagles had their chances but failed to convert in front of goal, kicking five consecutive behinds to finish the third term.

All hope of an unlikely comeback faded fast at the start of the fourth.

Joel Houghton kicked truly from the boundary, before goals to Stan Wright and Matthew Young helped the Royals seal their 34-point victory.

It was a night of missed opportunities for the Eagles, as they won the inside 50 count 44-38, but failed to convert in front of goal, posting 39 per cent for inside 50 efficiency in comparison to the Royals’ 55 per cent.

Allen said the quality of inside 50 entries and contested possession battle had a big bearing on the outcome.

“Our connection with the forwards was a bit off; we were off in a few areas tonight,” Allen said.

“The contest was a big one, it’s big in every game of footy and I think we let ourselves down tonight and East Perth were strong in that area.

“We are doing some things right, we’ve just got to gel it all together and get all the parts of our game in sync.

“We’ll stay positive, we obviously don’t like to lose, but we’ll get together and we’ll bounce back."