West Coast Eagles star Nic Naitanui has been singled out, alongside teammate Andrew Gaff, for 'lazy' efforts in their loss to Geelong over the weekend.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson was clearly frustrated after his side's 97-point loss to the Cats, their worst loss during his eight-year tenure in the job, describing it as 'weak' and 'embarrassing'.
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It was their third loss away from home this season, with their perfect record in Perth prompting some critics to focus on their poor away record.
However it was the likes of Naitanui and Gaff that attracted the attention of former Brisbane Lions star Jonathon Brown, who noted seperate incidents which typified the lack of fight from the Eagles.
Naitanui was the main culprit, with his failure to chase opponent Rhys Stanley into the Geelong forward line after a Cats free kick in the middle of the ground resulting in a goal for his Cats rival.
“This was when they were going well. Geelong wins the free kick, Rhys Stanley (runs), Nic Nat has a look at him and then he goes, you know what, I think I’ve gone far enough,” Brown told Fox Footy.
“That’s lazy from a leader, because look who ends up with the football. I don’t know what Nic Nat’s doing — it’s his role there to be guarding the centre square.”
Co-host Garry Lyon agreed, saying it was clear the defensive effort simply became too much for the Eagles ruckman.
“That is the moment where you looked at it and went, this is getting too hard for them,” he said.
“It got too hard for Nic. You’re spot on. He started to do the hard thing, put your head down and push hard defensively, and it all got too hard.”
Star midfielder Gaff didn't escape the spotlight either, with Brown pointing out his missed tackle on Cats defender Lachie Henderson as another crucial moment before the Eagles unravelled.
"Guess what? Two or three minutes later? Andrew Gaff, another leader, look what happens. This is just a tackle that has to be made 100 times out of 100 — needs to be crunched,” Brown said.
“Lachie Henderson just rolls around like a wet paper bag, straight out of there and then goes forward.”
Eagles owning 'weak' AFL loss to Geelong
Simpson said West Coast could not shy away from the disaster in Geelong ahead of Sunday's Western Derby against Fremantle.
"I think we've got to be pragmatic about it all," Simpson told 3AW.
"We've got to own it, that's what it was. That's what it felt like watching it and talking to the players they did exactly that and let themselves down.
"We just didn't find a way to stay involved in the game and once we got to the point of no return, I thought our players found it really difficult to re-engage."
The Eagles quickly returned home after the round-six game, despite Perth entering a snap three-day lockdown on Saturday.
West Coast will be allowed to resume training as normal on Tuesday after WA premier Mark McGowan announced the end of the lockdown.
"We got back to Perth on Saturday night, (I) had a couple of scotches and went to bed pretty quick," Simpson said.
"All our meetings have been on Zoom and (on Tuesday) it's business as usual, except wearing masks."
Star defender Jeremy McGovern is still unsure how severe his adductor injury is after he failed to finish Saturday's game and was subbed out in the first quarter.
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