Dockers finals hopes rest on Suns clash
The Dockers lost to Adelaide by 39 points at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday, with their win/loss record now sitting at 1-3 after playing four sides who did not feature in the finals last season.
Former West Coast Eagle Peter Sumich believes their season is on the line this coming weekend.
Sumich told Sports Breakfast there was plenty of football left to be played, but he thought a loss to the Suns would be terminal for their chances of featuring in September.
“Not if they lose to Gold Coast. If Gold Coast win, it’s not retrievable,” Sumich said.
“We all thought they’d be minimum four and one, or five and zip. Now if they lose they’ll be one and four, and I think they’ve got a tough draw after that.
“If Fremantle lose this week, I reckon they’re going to struggle to make the eight. They could still make the eight but jeeze, it’d be be very, very hard if they lose this week.”
The Dockers have been on the losing end of the contested possession count in all four of their games this season, with Sumich saying many of their problems stemmed from a lack of grunt.
“You look at the better sides, that’s what they’re good at. Getting from contest to contest, winning ground ball, contested ball at ground level,” he said.
“That comes down to just work rate … I think Fremantle’s work rate has just been off a bit in that area.
“A bloke like Brayshaw, to me, just looks a little bit tired. Whether the pressure from last year and all that has mounted, he’s still a kid, and that’s what we’ve got to understand too, he’s still a kid so he’s working through some tough periods of his career, and right now he looks [tired]. Hopefully he can get himself out of it and a few others (can) as well.”
Sumich was also unimpressed with West Coast, who lost to Melbourne by 63 points on Sunday after losing several senior players to injury in last weekend’s Western Derby.
Sumich said the Eagles needed to set higher standards for themselves regardless of player availability.
“This is the worrying sign, we’re all saying it’s to be expected. Why is it to be expected to lose by ten goals plus?” he said.
“I think West Coast are happy with it, because they’ve got the excuse now ‘oh, we’re young’, but that’’s no excuse to get beaten by ten goals every week. If Geelong beat them by ten plus goals this week, is that good enough?
“Didn’t Adam Simpson tell us all they’ve had the best preseason ever and they’re as fit as they’ve ever been? So why can’t they maintain [effort]?”
The AFL descends on Adelaide for Gather Round this weekend, with the Dockers clash against the Suns at Norwood Oval kicking off at 3:10 pm Friday while the Eagles take on the Cats at Adelaide Oval at 11:10 am on Sunday.
IMAGE: Fox Sports