Eagles down gutsy Saints but LeCras hurt

Posted in AFL News

Highlights: West Coast v St Kilda The Eagles and Saints clash in round 3


Mitch Brown celebrates a late goal against St Kilda

WEST Coast has continued its undefeated start to the season with a 25-point win over a defiant St Kilda at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night. 

LeCras has been sent for X-rays on the arm, the same one he injured in round one last year. 

"It doesn't look great," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"He'll miss weeks."

It's a big blow to West Coast who is already missing its two half-back flankers in Shannon Hurn (knee, six weeks) and Beau Waters (shoulder, season). 

Sharrod Wellingham (soreness) was a late withdrawal before the match. 

But the Eagles covered the absences well despite a scare from a gutsy St Kilda outfit that led by 13 points midway through the third term. 

West Coast was forced to claw its way back, kicking seven of the last eight goals in a night ruckman Dean Cox equalled Glen Jakovich's club games record of 276.

Cox kicked the last goal of the match but not before St Kilda made his side earn the win. 

The Saints midfield, led by Leigh Montagna, Luke Dunstan, and Farren Ray, dominated the clearances and the contested possession count but let themselves down with their conversion in front of goal. 

"All credit to St Kilda," Simpson said. "They did come over with a hunt mentality.

"We're quite proud of the boys to guts it out.

"We were in a bit of strife there. We had personnel who were down but also the way we were playing wasn't the way we've been playing the last few weeks."

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson was pleased with the Saints effort but felt turnovers cost them dearly.

"We thought we were really strong in terms of effort and contest - putting the Eagles under pressure," Richardson said.

"The Eagles scored 8.8 on the back of turning our footy over.

"We were well and truly solid defensively but didn't maximise when we turned the footy over."

The Eagles made a fast start with Luke Shuey kicking the first goal within a minute of the opening bounce.

The Saints then silenced the home crowd with a dominant 15-minute period. 

The visitors controlled the clearances and out-pointed the Eagles around the contest but could not convert their chances in front of goal. They kicked just 1.5 for the term and two late goals to the Eagles' tall timber of Josh Kennedy and Callum Sinclair saw the home side lead by nine points at quarter-time.

Xavier Ellis kicked the first goal of the second quarter as the Eagles threatened to dash clear but the Saints dug in and their skipper Nick Riewoldt took control. He imposed himself on the contest with typical gut-busting running. Riewoldt kicked consecutive goals from marks before Montagna added two more to give the Saints an eight-point lead at half-time.

The third term was an arm-wrestle but again the Saints had their opportunities. Eli Templeton converted a tight set-shot but missed an easier chance on the run that would have extended the lead to 18.

The Eagles seized on the let-off kicking three consecutive goals to lead by six points at the final change.

The home side ran away with it in the end kicking four goals to one in the final term, with Cox ending his milestone match on a high with the final goal. 

Cox had 34 hit-outs, 15 possessions and a goal in another standout performance, while Matt Priddis ( 28 touches, one goal) and Jack Darling (17 possessions, six tackles) were also impressive. 

Dean Cox celebrates the final goal of the contest in his record-equalling game. Picture: AFL Media

WEST COAST    3.2    5.4    8.8   12.11  (83)                  

ST KILDA            1.5     6.6   7.8    8.10    (58)          



West Coast: Ellis 2, Cripps 2, Kennedy 2, Darling, Shuey, Sinclair, Cox, Priddis, Brown

St Kilda: Riewoldt 2, Montagna 2, Dunstan 2, Maister, Templeton


West Coast: Priddis, Darling, Cox, Gaff, Ellis, Glass, Sheppard, Bennell

St Kilda: Montagna, Riewoldt, Dunstan, Hayes, Ray, Armitage



West Coast: Wellingham (groin) replaced in selected side by Schofield, LeCras (arm)

St Kilda: Gilbert (foot)


West Coast: Mark LeCras (arm) replaced by Will Schofield in first quarter

St Kilda: Sam Gilbert (foot) by Shane Savage in the first quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Mitchell, Dalgleish, Mollison.

Official crowd: 36,448 at Patersons Stadium

'It was pretty brutal'

Posted in AFL News

Pies v Cats: Watch the last two minutes It was a thrilling finish on Saturday night at the MCG


Key forward Tom Hawkins dragged Geelong over the line against Collingwood

KEY FORWARD Tom Hawkins struggled to impose himself during the first three quarters of Geelong's clash with Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday night.

At the final change, having been well held by young Magpie Jack Frost, he had just eight disposals and one goal to his name.

But when the four premiership points were on the line in the final term, Hawkins stepped up with a commanding performance, booting three late goals and propelling the Cats to an 11-point win.

"It was nice personally to finish with a couple," Hawkins said afterwards. 

"But I felt like I worked relatively hard in the game, so it was a good result personally and fantastic for the team.

"As a lot of supporters of the Cats know, we're not about individual performances, so it was a great effort by the team.

"The pressure came on and we dug deep as a side. The whole 22 of us were fantastic. It was a really good result.

"It was a tough one. There's a lot of sore boys. It was pretty brutal."

But whether he wanted to talk about himself or not, Hawkins was the story of the night.

He started the last quarter by drilling a set shot from a relatively sharp angle in the right pocket.

He then turned to the Collingwood supporters who had been heckling him – "rightly so, I hadn't had much of a kick," he admitted – and put his hand over his mouth.

A minute later, Hawkins snapped another goal, which gave the Cats a 16-point lead.

Then, after the Magpies closed to within five points with three minutes to go, he showed nerves of steel by slotting a 40m set shot that proved to be the last goal of the game.

"I don't think for any moment that I've mastered (kicking goals under pressure)," Hawkins said.

"It's something that just develops. I'm a really nervous person by nature. I get nervous before games.

"But it's just being in those positions that you learn how to deal with those things."

LeCras 'to miss weeks'

Posted in AFL News

'We were in a bit of strife there' Watch West Coast coach Adam Simpson's post-match press conference


Mark LeCras has hurt the same arm that hampered his 2013 campaign

MARK LeCras will 'miss weeks' after injuring his right forearm in West Coast's 25-point win over St Kilda on Saturday night. 

LeCras was subbed off during the opening term after having the arm assessed by the Eagles medical staff. 

It is the same arm he broke in round one last season against Fremantle. LeCras missed just one game but was hampered for the rest of the year.

West Coast coach Adam Simpson said the outlook wasn't good but LeCras will be sent for scans on Sunday to determine the severity of the injury. 

"It could be the same issue he had in the past with his arm," Simpson said. "We don't know yet. It doesn't look great.

"He'll miss weeks."

Simpson said the loss of LeCras so early in the match exposed the Eagles' structure.

"It probably tells you a bit about playing so tall sometimes," Simpson said.

"If you lose someone like LeCras, the balance goes out of whack a little bit.

"(Will Schofield) came on and did a serviceable job but he's not a forward so we had to adapt to the game."

Simpson said Josh Hill could be an option to replace LeCras after kicking three goals for East Perth in the WAFL on Friday night.

"He's dying for a chance so you'd assume he'd be in the mix this week," Simpson said.

"He had a really good performance at East Perth last night. We'll see how it all settles tomorrow and we'll go from there but we've got some options."

The Eagles suffered further injury troubles in the match. Chris Masten suffered a nasty cork that diminished his running capacity while Scott Selwood rolled his ankle.

"He couldn't feel his right foot after half-time," Simpson said of Selwood.

"You probably noticed he kicked one out on the full and pulled a few kicks on his left as well so we thought it was a really brave effort from Scooter."

Sharrod Wellingham was replaced by Will Schofield before the match after complaining of groin soreness but Simpson said he will be fine for next Saturday night's clash with Geelong.

"He's just a bit sore and we left it right until today and he just wasn't quite right and these days you can't play at 90 per cent," Simpson said.

"We considered making him sub but we thought the best way forward was just to give him a rest so he'll be available next week." 

Cloke not the problem

Posted in AFL News

'Not enough supply' Watch Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley's post-match press conference


Travis Cloke continued his poor record against Geelong, going goalless on Saturday night

COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley denies Travis Cloke needs more assistance from his teammates, despite the key forward's slow start to the season.

For the second time this year, Cloke was held goalless as Geelong defender Tom Lonergan once again negated the 27-year-old's impact on the scoreboard.

Cloke has scored just two goals for season 2014, both of which came in the Pies' round-two win over Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

As he did in the round-one loss to Fremantle, Cloke failed to register a score during Saturday night's 11-point loss to Geelong.

Click here for full match coverage

Games against the Cats haven't been happy hunting grounds for Cloke, who has now kicked just four goals in the past four such encounters.

But Buckley said the supply to Cloke was the issue and not necessarily Cloke's form, with Geelong winning Saturday night's midfield battle comprehensively.

"Clokey was beaten," Buckley acknowledged post-match.

"We don't rely on him to kick the winning score, we expect the rest of our forward line to tip in and get that done. We're not going to win many games with 11 goals but you're not going to kick many winning scores with just 42 entries.

"I thought our defence held up really well, I thought we were nutted in the midfield and I thought our forwards lacked supply in some way. We scored at about 50 per cent which is OK. We just didn't get enough supply."

One forward who did stand up for the Pies was the high-flying Jamie Elliott.

The 21-year-old leaped over Geelong star Jimmy Bartel in the second term, almost certainly earning him a nomination for mark of the year – an honour he won last season.

Elliott's five goals included three in the final term to put the Pies within five points of the Cats with three minutes remaining.

"Jamie's work rate was excellent," Buckley said.

"He kept putting himself in the spots, took his chances and won his one-on-ones when the time was there. The rest of our forward line could learn a little bit from that. He's a dangerous match-up. He's hard to stop."

Several of Collingwood's star midfielders struggled with only Steele Sidebottom (29) and Dayne Beams (28) in the Pies' best players for the match.

Scott Pendlebury was tagged heavily by Geelong youngster Cam Guthrie and despite gathering 26 disposals was far from influential.

Collingwood's doctors were kept busy with Beams, Nick Maxwell, Sam Dwyer and Heritier Lumumba all hobbling off during the match and receiving treatment in the rooms.

Beams, Maxwell and Lumumba all played out the game, while Dwyer was subbed off for Taylor Adams in the third term.

The coach said he was confident all four would be available for selection for Friday night's crucial clash against Richmond at the MCG.

"We've had casualties from the game. We probably had three or four blokes who were pretty sore throughout," Buckley said.

"Sammy [Dwyer]'s no worse than a couple of others but [his substitution] was to inject some run through the midfield and get Taylor into the mix.

"Richmond played today. A six-day break – it's going to be the same for both of us. We're pretty confident we'll field a really competitive, fit side ready to go."

Unbeaten Cats still level below frontrunners

Posted in AFL News

Post-match: Cats Watch Geelong coach Chris Scott's post-match press conference


Steve Johnson (l) and Tom Hawkins combined to perfection at times at the MCG on Saturday night

GEELONG coach Chris Scott has played down his team's form, despite the Cats opening the season with three straight wins.

Scott's men continued the impressive start to their 2014 campaign when they edged out Collingwood by 11 points on Saturday night.

The victory propelled them to third place on the ladder "without playing that well", according to the coach.

"We're really aware, especially after watching (Hawthorn beat Fremantle) last night, that we need to improve a lot," Scott said in his post-game press conference.

"I don't think this game was anywhere near that one. Even the team that lost last night was probably better than us, I thought.

"Yeah, we're three and zip, but it doesn't really feel like it at the moment.

"So the positive is that the win-loss looks good. But we've still got a lot of work to do on our game."

Scott was relieved rather than elated that his team was able to battle its way to victory in a contest that featured plenty of pressure and plenty of mistakes from both sides.

"I didn’t think we were playing that well for the majority of the game," Scott said.

"So when you're just trying to scrap and find a way through the first three quarters, the message really at three-quarter time was to just keep it a bit more simple.

"I know there were some complex things happening off the ball. Both sides were trying to get the game on their terms to an extent.

"But, really, it was the simple stuff. We had a bit of space, kicked the ball forward and won contests from there."

The heroes for the Cats were key forward Tom Hawkins, who kicked three goals in the last quarter, and key defender Tom Lonergan, who held Travis Cloke goalless.

Lonergan's physical tactics against Cloke enraged the Collingwood supporters, but they were deemed legal thanks to the umpires' more lenient interpretations of contact in marking contests.

"I'm only prepared to talk about Tom, not Travis or the umpires," Scott said. "I thought he was outstanding. I won't elaborate any more than that."

A number of the Cats' young players stood up in the heat of battle, with Cameron Guthrie playing a particularly valuable tagging role on Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury.

"The thing we love about Guthrie is he's very good in that negating role but he wins contests as well," Scott said.

"Some of those contested marks towards the end – there's almost no safer player in our team in that situation, which is a big rap."

Geelong hosts fellow unbeaten team West Coast at Simonds Stadium next Saturday night.

With big men Dean Cox, Nic Naitanui and Callum Sinclair working well together for the Eagles, the Cats are likely to play their own trio of ruckmen – Hamish McIntosh, Dawson Simpson and Mark Blicavs – for the fourth game running.

"It makes sense, I think," Scott said. "The most logical thing is to take in the big guys, given we've done it in every game so far this year, but (it's) not a fait accompli."

Gun defender Corey Enright, who was a late withdrawal from the team that beat Collingwood after failing to recover from an ankle injury, is only a 50-50 chance to line up against West Coast.

"We're confident it's not a long-term thing," Scott said. "We're anticipating he'll be right to play, but (the medicos) can't guarantee it."

Twitter: @AFL_AdamMcNicol

Betway Sports £30 free bet £10 free bet club