West Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff says the Eagles found some ‘spark’ on the weekend after a 42-point win against the Crows in Adelaide.
Despite suffering three consecutive losses in the matches beforehand – something which Gaff says he has rarely experienced in his 11 years at the club – the prolific wingman believes the weekend’s victory was a welcomed confidence booster after a disappointing series of performances.
“It was an important second half for us and good that we can get a little bit of that confidence and that form back going into the last rounds ahead,” he said.
“We feel like we’ve got a fit group, just probably a little bit down on confidence. Combined into three really poor performances those last three weeks, so we hope that the win on the weekend against Adelaide is a step in the right direction.
“Got that good blend of experience but also young guys coming through that I think is important for our fans to see and I think important to give us a bit of life.
“Sometimes you need a bit of life as older guys who have been around a long time.”
The blend of younger and more senior players now look set to take on an experienced St Kilda engine room, featuring the likes of Jack Steele, Luke Dunstan, Brad Crouch and ruckman Paddy Ryder.
The clash is considered vital in both team’s run for finals, with St Kilda sitting just four premiership points behind the Eagles despite being positioned outside the eight.
“They’ve been really good the last few weeks, they touched Brisbane up a couple of weeks ago and they almost got over Port Adelaide last week,” Gaff said.
“Got no illusions that it’s going to be tough, they’ve got a lot of good, strong guys in the midfield.
“Instability in our performance has been so up and down and we’ve had some really good wins against some really good opposition and then some really poor losses, big losses.
“Been a bit of a mental rollercoaster for us this year, but hopefully we can start sort of peaking and building some consistency towards this back end.
“We are where we are at the moment, probably a bit of inconsistency but also some good performances, but if we can perform well these next four or five weeks it’s going to give everyone a lot of confidence going into September and beyond hopefully.”
The 29-year-old also detailed how the celebration of two key milestones in Connor West’s debut and Nic Naitanui’s 200th helped reinvigorate the side and create some momentum.
“Just talking to Connor about how his experience was the whole weekend was going over to Adelaide and having his family, I think a few friends were over as well,” Gaff said.
“Him just being so pumped about playing his first game, an away game, over in Adelaide obviously, I think just triggers guys' memories of why we play footy.
“Sometimes when you lose three in a row, sometimes hard to remember that stuff.
“You need that spark of a Connor West playing his first game, Luke Edwards in his fourth or fifth game, Nic (Naitanui) in his milestone game, sometimes that kind of stuff can get you going a little bit more than trying to avoid a fourth loss in a row.
“You try and find those little extra things to try and spur you on a little bit more.”