West Coast star Tim Kelly ripped into his own team after their AFL season hit a shocking new low on Friday night against the Gold Coast Suns. The AFL cellar dweller's slumped to their eighth loss in nine games after Gold Coast romped to a 70-point triumph in what was their biggest ever away win.
In a stark reflection of West Coast's recent woes, just 36,219 fans turned up to watch the Eagles' latest horror show at Optus Stadium on Friday night. It was a big drop from the 47,497 fans who turned up in 2019 in West Coast's most recent home match against Gold Coast in which there were no Covid-19 crowd restrictions.
Those that were in attendance would undoubtedly have echoed the sentiments of Kelly, coach Adam Simpson and countless fans on social media who described the performance from the home side as unacceptable. A dreadful first half saw the Eagles trail by 50 points, prompting a spray from Kelly during an interview with Fox Footy’s Matthew Pavlich, when asked what temporary captain Tom Barrass had said to his team.
“Oh look, (he was) just telling us not to panic, but second quarter’s been a real issue for us, I thought we started the game reasonably well, but it just really isn’t good enough mate,” Kelly said. “Look, it is what it is, we’ve gotta come out this second half and give our fans something to cheer about.”
"It just isn't good enough"
Tim Kelly's thoughts heading into half-time with a 50-point deficit...
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🔢 MATCH CENTRE pic.twitter.com/tR93asOI5c
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) May 12, 2023
The 16.17 (113) to 6.7 (43) defeat for West Coast was highlighted by a shocking second quarter where the Suns kicked goals for fun to leave the Eagles reeling. West Coast's coach says he and the players need to accept the avalanche of criticism coming their way as fans start turning away from the flailing club in numbers.
Simpson, who is contracted until the end of 2025, is desperate to lead the club through its rebuild but will no doubt come under fresh scrutiny after his side's latest shocking display.
"I know there's some disappointed members out there, and I get that," Simpson said. "They can demand as much as they like, they pay the memberships.
"They want to see us being competitive. I get all that. We appreciate all the support coming our way, and the criticism is there as well.
"But we're trying. While we're going through this, it's going to be a challenge. It's no quick fix."
West Coast are having their usual third quarter in the second quarter this week. Awful. #AFLEaglesSuns
— Neil Sherwin (@neilsherwin) May 12, 2023
Since round 20, 2021, West Coast are 3-32. Staggeringly dire period for any club, let alone as one as powerful as the Eagles #AFLEaglesSuns
— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) May 12, 2023
Eagles not even trying. Well at least I hope they are not because this is just embarrassing. #AFLEaglesSuns
— Damien (@DamoMK) May 12, 2023
That's just unacceptable @WestCoastEagles. I really don't see why I should continue to put up with that. Loyalty? Like when i treated like a second class citizen by the club last year? That loyalty? #AFLEaglesSuns
— Click 🙂 (@ClickCollins) May 12, 2023
7 in a row for the Eagles getting smashed by 40+ points embarrassing #AFLEaglesSuns
— Mikala (@mikala_mc) May 12, 2023
how many more performances like this before Simpson’s position really comes under scrutiny? surely not many? #AFLEaglesSuns
— outbreezy (@outbreezyWC) May 12, 2023
Injuries pile up for struggling Eagles
To compound the woes for the club, West Coast's devastating injury toll now stands at 18 players after Jack Darling (arm) and Jamaine Jones (broken nose) were added to the list. Darling will undergo an X-ray to determine whether his arm is broken.
With the likes of Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Jeremy McGovern, Jamie Cripps, Elliot Yeo, Tom Cole and Liam Ryan also out injured, West Coast are at rock bottom with player availability. The Eagles lost to Carlton by 108 points in Perth two weeks ago, and the club sit last on the ladder with a 1-8 record and a percentage of 60.5.
"I'll sound like a broken record because there's no go-to (fix)," Simpson added. "With what we've got available, it's a challenge for some of them. That's the reality. But we've got to be resilient and we've got to find a way to compete."
West Coast's clash with Hawthorn in Tasmania next week looms as somewhat of a wooden spoon battle. Gold Coast piled on eight goals to one in the second quarter of Friday night's fizzer, and Simpson was scathing of the way his players got beaten up in that term.
"The second quarter we just got blown away in the midfield," Simpson said. "I don't think we won a clearance in the second quarter, or it wasn't until late."
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