All the numbers looked so good for the WAFL Eagles against West Perth at Arena Joondalup.
More possessions, more hit outs, more inside 50 entries.
The only place the numbers didn’t look flash was on the scoreboard that announced a Falcons victory by 36 points – 11.6 (72) to 4.12 (36).
While the loss to West Perth was disappointing, there was much to like about the performance of the young Eagles – including midfielder Matt Allen, who had 34 disposals, half-backs Kurt Mutimer and Luke Foley, wingman Jarrod Brander and midfielder Hamish Brayshaw.
Allen, in conjunction with 200-game AFL veteran Chris Masten, Brayshaw and Brander ensured there was plenty of opportunities for an undersized forward line, all of them feeding off the ruck work of Keegan Brooksby and Bailey Williams.
In defence Jackson Nelson was rock solid alongside first-year utility player Luke Foley and Kurt Mutimer, who was penetrating by foot.
West Perth led for the majority of the match – after a Jarrod Cameron intercept in the midfield set the Eagles up for the first goal in the opening minute – and were more efficient as they carved out an important win.
But the balance of possession was relatively even, with West Coast struggling to find targets up forward.
Allen said it was a day of missed opportunities for the Eagles.
“We had plenty of looks inside 50,” Allen said.
“We just didn’t cash in, so that’s something we’ll continue to work on. We’ve just got to get a bit more value from our entries.”
Allen said congestion around the contest was frustrating, but praised the team’s commitment to winning the football.
“It was a bit scrappy, but our intent was good, so that’s something we can take away from today,” he said.
“It’s disappointing to lose, but we’ve got the bye next week, so hopefully we can refresh and get a few wins after that.”
West Coast return to action against East Fremantle on Saturday, June 22.
West Perth 1.1 5.2 7.4 11.6 72
West Coast Eagles 1.1 2.3 3.8 4.12 36
Goals – West Perth: Keitel, Strijk, West 2; Lourey, Chalmers, Pierce, Black, Riddoch. West Coast Eagles: Cameron, Ashman, Robilliard, Williams.
Best – West Perth: S Nelson, Chalmers, West, Manzone, Chalmers, Lynch. West Coast Eagles: Masten, M Allen, J Nelson, Foley, Mutimer, Brayshaw, Brooksby.
At Arena Joondalup