Dual-premiership Kangaroo David King has slammed the poor attitude of West Coast players, urging coach Adam Simpson to drop players with “currency” like Mark LeCras to send a statement.
The Eagles’ premiership hopes are on a knife’s edge after their eight-point loss to Collingwood on Sunday, with Simpson’s men sitting ninth with a 9-8 record and a percentage of 101.4.
Their upset loss was punctuated by a poor final quarter, which saw the Pies win the contested ball count by +22, despite the Eagles’ finals hopes being on the line.
Seven players – Matt Priddis, Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff, Dom Sheed, Elliot Yeo and Liam Duggan – all failed to register a contested possessions in the final term.
Overall, the Eagles are ranked 15th for contested ball differential – down from ninth in 2016 and second in 2015 – and 16th for pressure differential.
Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy described those two aspects of West Coast’s game as “B-grade”, while King was appalled with the team’s on-field approach at such a crucial stage of the year.
“It doesn’t mean enough to them at the moment, their senior core players – it’s not everything to them – you see it,” King told On The Couch.
“They’re thereabouts when things are going well, they play some good football.
“(But) some of their senior core players like to get on the end of a few easy touches.”
King then showed vision from the Pies-Eagles game, which saw LeCras and Jamie Cripps producing poor defensive efforts in congestion.
“They’re in the area to put pressure on and all they want is reward,” King said.
“Should never play again LeCras, I’m done with LeCras. We talk about him every three weeks.
“Adam Simpson has to start to lose faith with these players because they are not taking him anywhere.
“The attitudinal problem they’ve got the West Coast needs to change and the only way to do that is to start dropping players that have got some sort of currency, some sort of note.”
Healy said there needed to be a list overhaul at the Eagles, with a particular focus on the midfield.
The former Demon and Swan said injured ruckman Nic Naitanui had exposed the club’s on-ball brigade.
“As much as we talk about their midfield, I don’t think it is their strength, I think it is their weakness,” Healy said.
“Naitanui has covered a lot of cracks in their midfield.
“They’ve got three or four really good players and they really need to find another three or four runners from around the league.”
Three-time premiership Lion Jonathan Brown noted that “no one takes charge for the West Coast Eagles” besides skipper Shannon Hurn.
“They would rather be out fishing or pig hunting or whatever they’re doing,” Brown said.
Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall added that the Eagles relied too heavily on fellow Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy, who booted six goals against the Magpies.
“If he doesn’t kick a bag they aren’t going to get over the line — even when he does they are still vulnerable,” Dunstall said.
– Fox Sports