AAP AFL

AFL stats not adding up for Eagles coach

By AAP Newswire

West Coast coach Adam Simpson concedes his team are still playing below their best despite scratching together three straight AFL wins.

The Eagles came from 19 points down in the third quarter against Melbourne to post a 16-point win at Optus Stadium on Friday night.

Liam Ryan's spectacular mark late in the match will keep the highlights reel buzzing for some time to come.

But Simpson couldn't help but scratch his head after the match when looking at the stats.

West Coast lost the inside 50s (62-47), contested possessions (158-141), hitouts (59-20) and clearances (39-33), yet somehow escaped with the 13.7 (85) to 9.15 (69) win.

Melbourne's inaccuracy allowed West Coast to stay within striking distance for most of the match, and they made the most of it with seven of the last eight goals.

The Eagles have struggled to produce an adequate amount of inside 50s this season, and Simpson is well aware his team need to improve dramatically to have a chance of defending their flag.

"The facts are the numbers probably don't stack up, and that's been the case for most of the year," Simpson said.

"Our supply has gone down. We are working really hard to get that right. If we can win in the meantime, that's great.

"I think we're still a little bit inconsistent.

"We're not playing at our best, teams are shutting us down, we're not helping ourselves as well.

"We haven't quite hit a four-quarter performance, but we're winning. That's the pleasing part.

"We're 6-3 and hopefully setting up a really good platform for the second half of the season."

Ryan leapt into Demons ruckman Max Gawn to take a mark-of-the-year contender with just nine minutes remaining in the match.

The ensuing goal gave West Coast a lead they never relinquished.

Simpson heaped praise on Ryan, whose defensive aspects and work ethic have improved dramatically this season.

"That was a spectacular mark, we'll take that. But the work he's doing off the ball is really pleasing as well," Simpson said.

"He runs like a 24, 25-year-old mature age high half-forward.

"He's learning from one of the comp's better high half forward in Jamie Cripps in how he runs. And he's bought in."

Eagles defender Lewis Jetta faces a nervous wait after his strong tackle concussed Tim Smith.

Smith's arms were pinned in the tackle, leaving him with no way to protect his head from hitting the turf.

Young Eagles forward Daniel Venables is in doubt for next week's clash with the Crows in Adelaide after being knocked out in a marking contest.