Our young bloods were determined in completing their first victory for the season when they met the Eagles in round 2 on Saturday.
Despite controlling much of the game, our inability to convert opportunities in front of goal cost us at the end but there was so much to like about what we saw.
We entered the game making six changes bringing in Josh Sargent, Mitch Dean, Jesse Schefe, Toby Bywater, Jayden Bubner and under-ager Baily White all for their first games.
We knew the Eagles would be confident after their 10-goal win against Centrals the week before, but we believed that we were strong enough to open our season’s account on our home turf. We lost the toss and kicked into what was probably a 2-3 goal breeze. The morning had seen consistent rain so the oval was wet, but the rain had now cleared and was unlikely to affect the game. We controlled the first quarter well and, despite conceding a late goal, went into the first break just ahead.
West 1.4 – 10 to Eagles 1.2 – 8
The 2nd quarter had the Eagles respond and match our intensity at the ball and, despite having the use of the breeze, we were unable to capitalise and allowed the Eagles to kick 3.0 to our 1.2 to enter the main break.
West 2.6 -18 to Eagles 4.2 – 26
Our midfield was conceding contested ball at this stage which was an area that we struggled with the previous week. Despite controlling general play in most other areas and having more of the ball, we needed to wrestle back control.
Oscar Talbot was rock solid deep in defence and rebounding repeatedly, Lukas Zvaigzne was excellent on ball and back, Charlie Haysman and Judd Hansen on the wings were creative and working hard and our rucks Jack Wilson and Marcus Pavlic were winning many of the hit outs. Jesse Schefe, Darcy Hudson, and Bailey White were also playing well.
Going into the wind in the 3rd quarter saw us control nearly every statistic across the ground but despite this some skill errors and our inability to hurt the Eagles on the scoreboard was costly.
Two late goals to Max McKenzie and Paddy O’Donoghue brought us to within 6 points going into the last break and having a big opportunity in the last quarter kicking with the wind.
West 4.10 – 34 to Eagles 6.4 – 40
We scored early in the last before seeing the Eagles kick two goals to open up a handy break midway in the quarter. It required someone to step up and young Charlie Haysman with his dangerous left foot kicked two goals in two minutes to put us in front. The Eagles managed to kick one to take the lead again. We repeatedly created opportunities and forward entries but were unable to convert and take back the lead before the Eagles kicked a goal in the last seconds to take the game by 8 points.
It was hard to be critical of the way the team played. We controlled nearly every area of the game over the four quarters but unfortunately unforced turnovers and our inability to finish in front of goal at critical moments cost us the victory. We had 21 scoring shots to 14, more inside 50’s, contested possessions, hit outs, marks, disposals, tackles but lost on the scoreboard.
We saw some excellent patterns of team play and ball movement and impressive displays by Oscar Talbot deep back with 20 disposals, 7 marks and 10 rebound 50’s and Lukas Zvaigzne (29) with many others performing well.
We face South Adelaide early next Sunday in a critical match if we are looking to stay in touch with the top four.
Final scores: West 7.14 – 56 lost to Eagles 10.4 – 64
Best players: Oscar Talbot, Lukas Zvaigzne, Jesse Schefe, Jack Wilson, Marcus Pavlic, Darcy Hudson, Hansen, Haysman.
Goal Kickers: C. Haysman 2, M. Downs J. Hansen, McKenzie, Hilton, O’Donoghue 1