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Xavier Ellis says West Coast close to four-quarter effort, big win

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 26/05/2014 Brad Elborough
Xavier Ellis (right) says West Coast isn't far off producing a four-quarter effort. © Michael Dodge Xavier Ellis (right) says West Coast isn't far off producing a four-quarter effort.

Xavier Ellis says the West Coast Eagles are extremely close to being able to produce the four-quarter effort required to win big games.

He says that it isn’t fitness that is costing the Eagles, but inconsistency as they continue to learn the game plan being implemented by Adam Simpson.

The Eagles gave up a three-quarter time lead to lose on Saturday, for the second time this season, when they fell short against Collingwood by eight points at the MCG.

They also lost to Carlton in round five (by three points) having led at the last break.

“No it's not a fitness thing. We're still learning under Simmo,” Ellis said.

“There are parts of the game plan which we implement in different parts of quarters. We just make little errors occasionally. We're learning.

“For three quarters we stuck to what the coach wanted. And then we just had a couple of little lapses in the last quarter, and their great players stood up and ran away with it.”’

Ellis said the Eagles only fell away for around 10 per cent of the whole game against the Pies, but admitted that against top teams, that’s all it takes to lose.

“It kills you against the top four teams,” he said.

“We did take a step forward. It was a 90 per cent effort. To beat those big clubs in Melbourne it needs to be 100 per cent of the time.

“I don't think there's such a thing as an honourable loss. We were leading for most of the night so I don't think Simmo will be looking at it as an honourable loss either.”

The Eagles had 66 inside-50s against the Pies, just one short of the tally they managed against GWS in their last outing when they won by 111 points.

But they managed only eight marks inside that attacking zone against the Pies, as opposed to 21 against the Giants.

Mark LeCras was a massive loss from the Eagles forward line that demolished GWS, sidelined with a one-match suspension, and he’ll return for Sunday’s clash against North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium.

And Ellis said it could be as early as this week that the team clicks and is able to finally put Simpson’s game plan - which he said did have a hint of Hawthorn about it -  together for four quarters.

“The stuff we did really well - if we can apply that again this week with a couple of fine tuning things, we'll be in the game again,” he said.

“The boys are building a lot of confidence in one another and the game plan and that sort of stuff, but Hawthorn was an eight-year project and they have ended up winning two flags, so we're six months into hopefully a successful period for West Coast.”

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