2013 AFL season review: West Coast Eagles

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    A year that began with high expectations for West Coast Eagles fans turned into one sorry, dismal season which resulted in the club taking further steps backwards before the resignation of long-serving coach John Worsfold.

    Big things were expected from the Eagles this year following two successive finals series, the former of which saw them finish in the top four a year after the disaster that was the wooden spoon in 2010.

    But this year the club underperformed on the field, especially at home, where they were once invincible.

    Those were key issues which dominated the Eagles’ 2013 season.

    What went right
    After a disappointing start to the season, which saw the club win just one of its first five matches, the Eagles appeared to turn things around when they won five out of six matches entering the bye.

    One of those wins was a narrow, two-point verdict on the Friday night stage against North Melbourne in Round 8, when Nic Naitanui kicked the match-winning goal after the final siren.

    The club also had a 100-point win over GWS, as well as narrow victories over St Kilda and Adelaide in the middle of the season.

    Additionally, they also inflicted a heavy defeat on Essendon at Etihad Stadium towards the end of the home and away rounds.

    What went wrong
    Besides the four losses in the opening five rounds, the Eagles also suffered three humiliating defeats to end their 2013 campaign – and it was those losses which prompted John Worsfold to quit as Eagles coach after 12 seasons.

    In addition to its disappointing performances on the field, not one Eagles player was nominated for the AFL Rising Star.

    They also lost both Derbies to Fremantle by 28 points each, the first of which was in the opening weekend of the season.

    Of the 13 losses they suffered during the year, nine of them (including the away Derby against Fremantle) were at home, making for a tough season for home supporters.

    The team’s decline this year means that whoever takes the helm at the Eagles next year will have a difficult task trying to bring them back up to the top half of the ladder.

    The future
    After 12 years, two grand finals and one flag, the West Coast Eagles will move into a new era in 2014.

    Peter Sumich, Scott Burns and Adam Simpson remain strong candidates to coach the club, but whoever it is, he will have one massive task in trying to turn the Eagles into contenders again.

    Andrew Embley, the Norm Smith Medallist when the club won the flag in 2006, has retired and his experience will be sorely missed.

    Also gone are Adam Selwood and Mark Nicoski, and it’s set to be another long season for the club as they try to fill their voids in 2014.

    Questions that the fans will want answered in 2014
    – Who will coach the West Coast Eagles in the new season?
    – Can the Eagles return to the finals?
    – Will they just conjure up enough experience to produce a successful season?

    And last but not least…
    – Can the Eagles make Patersons Stadium a fortress once again?

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