The West Coast’s curse at Kardinia Park continued on Saturday afternoon after the Eagles suffered an embarrassing demolition to the Cats.
The Eagles boss was noticeably infuriated in his post-match press conference, labelling the Eagles loss a “really disappointing performance.”
“There are absolutely no excuses for what we did today,” Simpson said after the game.
“You can lose over here; that happens. But you want to play a brand that you’re proud of.”
“We’re just not at Geelong’s level at the moment. They were terrific today. They put their foot down and we just couldn’t stop them.”
Booting eleven straight goals past the Eagles in the second quarter, the 2020 Premiership Finalists outgunned the West Coast in every aspect of the game to crush the Eagles 21.10 (136) to 5.9 (39).
Already suffering from a stockpile of injury problems, things went from bad to worse for the Eagles in the second quarter, after losing key defender Jeremy McGovern, who limped off the field with what appears to be an abductor injury.
Jeremy McGovern (AF $553k SC $458k DEF) – groin@WestCoastEagles coach Adam Simpson: “I don’t know (the severity of the injury) but it was bad enough not to come back on.”— Honeyball AFL 🍯 (@HoneyballAFL) April 24, 2021
May impact Harry Edwards (AF $170k SC $123k DEF) selection#AFLFantasy #SuperCoach #AFL
“We got annihilated in every aspect of the game, which was really disappointing and embarrassing, considering our performance before quarter-time,” Eagles Head Coach Adam Simpson said in his post-match press conference.
“We had it going in the first quarter, quite competitive around the contest, good field position, and going a goal up too. We were plus nine or ten in the contest, and then the second quarter we just got blown away at centre bounces, contests in front of the ball, contests behind the ball, and they converted.”
Young defender Jackson Nelson took up an Early tagging role on Cats’ midfielder Joel Selwood, which had a significant impact clogging up the Cats midfield in the first term.
And the West Coast took control of the opening passages of play, smothering the home side’s service into the 50, while locking Geelong into their own half for the first 20 minutes.
That allowed the Eagles to lump more pressure on the Cats’ backline, with Nathan Vardy, Oscar Allen, and Jarrod Brander all capitalising to put the Eagles ahead at quarter-time.
Momentum was very much in the Eagles favor, but the tide soon turned with the Cats clawing their way back into the match with an almost perfect second quarter, amassing ten goals while allowing the Eagles only one point.
Changing into a different gear, the Cats showed that any kicking yipps they might have had over the season’s opening rounds were well and truly behind them, with Gary Rohan, Tom Hawkins, and new signing Jeremy Cameron all clinical ahead of the sticks.
Rohan was perhaps the Cats best afield, losing defender Brad Sheppard on two occasions, to take some brilliant marks deep in the Eagles 50.
Defensively the Eagles gave Geelong’s attackers too much space with the ball in hand and that’s a fatal mistake to make when you’re away at Kardinia Park.
The Eagles were also outclassed higher up the field, missing important tackles and failed to gain any field position against the Cats, who kept the Eagles pinned into their own goal square, taking 17 marks inside 50 to the West Coast’s eight.
“There is a tipping point in terms of personnel, but that’s not a reason to play like we did,” Simpson said.
“We’re missing a few leaders, but we’ve got enough leaders in that team to help try to wrestle momentum.”
Despite the Eagles generally being poor in midfield, failing to keep secure the ball higher up the pitch, credit should go to Geelong’s Mark O’Connor and Jake Kolodjashnij who did a solid job of inhibiting Tim Kelly from rebounding upfield.
With Mitch Duncan stepping up to deliver a sucker punch for the Eagles right on the half time buzzer and coming back again two minutes into the third quarter to make it 13 straight goals for the Victorian side, the game started to look like it was well beyond the Eagles grasp.
The West Coast did manage to rescue a little pride in the second half with the Eagles’ best afield, Jack Darling, taking a massive mark inside the Cats’ 50 pull back six points. But it was little consolation for a side who looked visibly beaten in the second half.
It could have been a lot worse, though. With the Cats slipping a few goals wide to record ten behinds for the match, Chris Scott’s side could have been on track to top their 23-consecutive-goal record against Fremantle in 2018.
With the Cats following up with another nine goals in the second half, Saturday’s game will become the Eagles worst loss in the league since 2009.