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West Coast Eagles

Five things we learned against the Swans

Highlights: Eagles v Swans All the highlights from our Round 12 clash with the Swans.

1. The history books will show that West Coast hasn’t won at the SCG since 1999, but the club’s eighth successive defeat at the venue by Sydney had little to do with the unique ground size. It is wider and shorter than most other AFL ovals, but this result was more about intent, connection from line to line and efficiency when opportunities were presented. Sydney was more daring with their ball use and looked more dangerous when rebounding out of the defensive half.

2. Finding the right match up for Sydney champion Lance “Buddy” Franklin proved problematic – from the first 45 seconds when he kicked the Swans opening goal until the post-siren when he kicked his fifth. Both Jeremy McGovern and Will Schofield were given the responsibility of matching it with the star Swan but were up against it with the slick ball movement by the home team.

3. While the work rate across the board from the Eagles was not what it has been in recent weeks, one man who maintained his levels was forward Jamie Cripps. An unsung hero of the West Coast structure, he is tireless as he plays the difficult high half-forward role to perfection. Cripps was involved in 34 pressure acts and although he did not hit the scoreboard (finishing with 0.3), he dug deep and tried to find a way to lift his team.

4. Defensively the Eagles were under pressure with Sydney kicking their highest score of the season (18.8 – 116), but a couple of the players in the back half were impressive. Brad Sheppard, playing largely on young Swan Nick Blakely, had 19 possessions and 11 marks while Lewis Jetta, against his old team, gathered 22 touches and three marks. While neither was without blemish, they generally disposed of the ball efficiently.

5. The ball movement of the Eagles was short of expectations, particularly when venturing inside the attacking zone. The Eagles advanced beyond the forward 50 arc more often than their opponents (58-46) but it still translated to a 45-point loss. Josh Kennedy looked dangerous early, kicking three first-half goals, and both Liam Ryan and Willie Rioli kicked a couple each, but the Swans were able to slingshot the ball from that area too easily.