West Coast Eagles miss absent Harley Reid in 37-point loss to Gold Coast

Mitchell Woodcock
The Nightly
Tom Cole flies for a mark.
Tom Cole flies for a mark. Credit: DAVE HUNT/AAPIMAGE

A Harley Reid-less West Coast were belted at their own game by a tougher but sloppy Gold Coast, dashing their hopes of stringing together three consecutive wins.

The Eagles were met with their version of near ideal conditions in the normally humid and wet Carrara but didn’t capitalise.

Instead they were belted around the ball by Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell and Jarrod Witts in a 37-point defeat.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Both sides exchanged blows in a tight but error-riddled first half before Gold Coast broke the contest open with a six goal to one third term on their way to a 17.10 (112) to 12.3 (75) victory.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson had identified their contest and ground ball work as one of the priorities for their rebuild, and entering the Suns clash they’d been one of the AFL’s biggest improvers in this area.

Remarkably, a lot of that came from teenager Reid, who had sent the footy world into a frenzy in his opening six games.

Rested for the longest trip in football, Reid’s absence was notable as the Eagles were beaten in the clearances (48-32), contested possessions (148-112) and as a result inside-50s (67-35).

If it wasn’t for their remarkable efficiency when they did go into attack, the margin could have been a lot greater.

A lot of this was on the back of the ruck dominance of Witts (47 hit-outs, 18 disposals, 10 clearances and a goal), who was too strong for Bailey Williams, while Rowell (22 disposals, 10 clearances, 13 tackles and two goals) and Anderson (33, disposals, 12 clearances and two goals).

Without Reid, too much was left to rejuvenated Eagles star Yeo (18 disposals, eight clearances and a goal), who battled manfully but without much help at the coalface.

Elliot Yeo.
Elliot Yeo. Credit: DAVE HUNT/AAPIMAGE

Forward Jake Waterman continued his excellent run of form with four goals, taking his season tally to a career-best 21 in only seven games and reaching 100 for his career after making the most of limited opportunities.

West Coast burst out of the blocks, booting three goals in less than six minutes, and remarkably after only 11 disposals as they went long and direct.

Yeo looked to have allayed concerns around West Coast’s clearance work without Reid when he burst free from the first centre bounce to set up Ryan Maric with a set shot within seconds of the opening siren.

The two-time All-Australian then booted the second goal after slipping a tackle Reid-style, before an explosive run from Jack Petruccelle from half back to half forward set up Waterman and all of a sudden the Eagles were up by 18 points.

Once the game settled it turned into a bit more of a slog, with West Coast’s defence holding up well under pressure once again led by Jeremy McGovern.

The Suns struggled to find a mark up forward despite having plenty of options, with their first two goals coming courtesy of free kicks from stoppages.

Concerning for West Coast they were down at the clearances 15-7 but they were still in the game because of how wayward Gold Coast.

The Suns threatened to break away in the second term as they got their ball movement going but costly turnovers in their backline hurt cost them dearly on the scoreboard.

Gold Coast were too casual coming out of defence, with Jack Petruccelle and Waterman making the most of it to kick early goals.

The contest opened up and turned into a goal fest, which would have left neither coach happy with several defensive efforts.

If the Suns had been a bit cleaner with their ball use they could have been further in front at half-time.

This proved to be correct when they booted six unanswered goals in the third term to finally get clear of the visitors.

Rowell had seven disposals and booted two goals in the quarter alone, while exciting draftee Jake Rogers showed class and speed to excite the home fans about his potential.

Third-year Eagle Campbell Chesser (six disposals) was subbed out of the contest for a second-consecutive week and replaced by premiership hero Dom Sheed, who had only six disposals in 42 minutes of gametime.

High-flying forward Liam Ryan struggled in his first AFL game in more than a year, while the Eagles’ backline found plenty of the ball but only because it was down in their half for much of the contest.

Any hope of a final-quarter comeback from West Coast was snuffed out by the weather, with a light rain making conditions tough late in the game.

West Coast got back within 18 points when Ryan snapped their fourth goal of the final term, but to rub salt into the wounds childhood fan Jed Walter kicked the two sealers for the Suns to ensure the victory.

GOLD COAST 2.3, 7.5, 13.7, 17.10 (112)

WEST COAST 3.1, 7.2, 8.3, 12.3 (75)

Goals – GOLD COAST: B King 3 B Ainsworth 2 N Anderson 2 M Rowell 2 J Walter 2 S Day B Fiorini W Graham B Humphrey J Rogers J Witts. WEST COAST: J Waterman 4 J Cripps 2 J Darling 2 R Maric J Petruccelle L Ryan E Yeo.

Best – GOLD COAST: M Rowell J Witts N Anderson J Rogers T Miller S Flanders. WEST COAST: J Waterman E Yeo L Duggan J McGovern B Hough T Kelly.

Injuries – GOLD COAST: S Clohesy (shoulder).

Umpires: R Chamberlain T Bryce B Wallace M Young. Crowd: 11,440 at People First Stadium.

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 23-07-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 23 July 202423 July 2024

Australia’s top cyber cop lashes big tech firms for profiting from alarming scourge amid calls for further action on online image abuse.