Geelong’s hunger and desperation during the final quarter was the chief reason why West Coast’s premiership defence ended with a 20-point semifinal loss at the MCG, according to coach Adam Simpson.
The Eagles faded dramatically after Josh Kennedy gave them a six-point lead midway through the third quarter. They managed only three behinds for the rest of the night as Geelong stormed home to win 13.10 (88) to 10.8 (68).
West Coast showed courage and determination to fight back from a 32-point deficit in the second quarter but Simpson said the Eagles couldn’t match the minor premiers when it really mattered.
“We had a swing but I think Geelong just wanted it more in the last quarter,” he said.
“I think effort was there but there were certain contests that were really critical. We couldn’t get field position. I thought the start was disappointing.
“We did so well to come back from that deficit away from home against the top-of-the-ladder side.
“I thought it was going to be an arm-wrestle and I thought whoever was the most predictable around the ball and played their role and stayed on task was going to come out on top.
“That’s what I told the players (at three-quarter-time). We came second in that.”
Several players were in tears after the game.
Uncontracted veterans Chris Masten and Will Schofield battled with their emotions after potentially playing their last games for the club.
Simpson described the team’s attempt to defend its flag as “unsuccessful” and lamented the poor finish to the year, which saw it drop out of the top four.
The Eagles were third on the ladder after round 21, then lost to Richmond and Hawthorn to drop to fifth.
“We had some inconsistencies throughout the year,” Simpson said.
“We probably deserved to finish fifth. It was a rough start to the season, we found our way and I think we won eight out of nine and we’ve lost three of our last four games.
“So we’ve fallen away in the last month. We’ve been up for a long period of time but that’s not really an excuse. Teams have managed to handle that before. Some critical games cost us top four.”