West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy concedes Greater Western Sydney was “tougher for longer” in Sunday’s hard-fought defeat, but a big boost could be on the way in the shape of midfield bull Elliot Yeo.
In a see-sawing contest, the lead changed 13 times – well above the average of 3.5 per game – and the Eagles were hanging on just three points behind with four minutes remaining.
Ultimately, West Coast slumped to a fourth road defeat for the season – with three of those losses coming after the Eagles were right in the hunt for victory against the Bulldogs, Saints and Giants.
“It was really disappointing, you go flying away and then come back with a loss, the plane ride was five hours and 45 minutes on the way home, so that didn’t really help either,” Kennedy told 6PR.
“They were just tougher for longer, we kind of felt like we were in the game for most of it, but I suppose that last quarter or last half especially, they just got away a little bit."
“It’s just always tough to win away, you do your travel, but we’ve been doing it for many years, so look, it’s just another challenge that’s thrown at you in football.
“With a lot of teams who fly away from home, their own beds, but we’ve been doing it long enough to have our own routines, and to be able to manage how to get the best preparation out of yourself.
“It’s no excuse, we’ve won one and we’ve lost a few, so it’s something that we’ve got to correct.
“We’ve been in a situation before, ’18 we won a lot away, ’17 won a few as well, look, it kind of ebbs and flows, this year, at the start of the year, we just haven’t won away but we’ll keep working on it, every week’s a challenge.”
The Eagles looked right in the contest for a predominant part of the clash, but the Giants were able to pip them at the post with a strong finish.
This leaves the side in seventh place on the ladder, with six wins and four losses.
“I think in general there’s probably not too many clubs who win away from home that often, but unfortunately for us, our best at home and our best away is probably not where it needs to be,” coach Adam Simpson told 7News Perth.
“But we’ll keep working on it because it’s really important for us.
“I thought on the weekend we had opportunities to win the game. We’ve probably had three or four games like that this year on our travel games, so not far off the mark, but not quite there yet.”
The side is still missing defensive stalwart Jeremy McGovern, as well as captain Luke Shuey and pivotal ball-winner Yeo.
But there’s hopefully a silver lining for the blue and gold outfit, with Yeo playing 75 minutes in the WAFL on Saturday afternoon.
It’s looking likely he’ll return to AFL ranks in coming weeks, after being sidelined for more than nine months with osteitis pubis.
“He said he pulled up pretty well, which was the main thing, it was about Yeoy getting out there and having a kick, it wasn’t about playing well or doing his thing, it was just about getting through and how he pulled up,” Kennedy explained.
“He said yesterday that he pulled up pretty well, so hopefully he can get some more minutes this week.
“Whether he’s pushing for AFL selection, who knows, it’s up to the coaches, but he’s in a pretty good space and feeling pretty good with his body which is the main thing.”
Simpson keen to take things slow and steady when it comes to Yeo, needing the pacey onballer at 100 percent when he inevitably returns to the senior side.
“He pulled up pretty well, as expected, so we’ll have to wait and see over the next couple of days how he trains and how he feels,” the coach said.
“It’s been part of the plan to be really slow with his return to play, so we knew this decision this week was coming, so we’ll see how he travels throughout the week and make a call later in the week.”