AFL Hot Topics: How bad are West Coast? Richmond see glimpse of future

Less than four years ago West Coast won the AFL premiership.

Today, they could rival some of the AFL’s worst teams in the competition’s history.

An 109-point belting at home by the current Richmond side represents arguably the darkest on-field day in the Eagles’ existence.

The Sporting News analyses the hot topics out of Friday night’s slaughter.

Just how bad are the West Coast Eagles?

It’s lucky West Coast somehow managed to nab a win against Collingwood because the way they are going, they will struggle to get another victory for the rest of the season.

Friday night’s Eagles team featured 10 premiership players in it.

Even the bookies gave West Coast a 35 per cent chance of winning the game against a Richmond side that was flogged by Melbourne the week before.

But instead Adam Simpson’s side served up an absolutely abysmal first half – which is their fourth in the last five weeks.

Starting with an 8-42 deficit to Fremantle at half time in round three, West Coast trailed 70-12 against Sydney at the main break in round five, 53-10 versus Port Adelaide in round six and 79-16 against the Tigers.

In past few weeks, the Eagles have been able to limit the damage partly in second halves as their opponent takes the foot off the gas.

But not last night as a Richmond side that will likely battle to make the eight had 40 scoring shots in their first ever win against West Coast at Optus Stadium.

And guess what? It’s Brisbane and Melbourne to come for the Eagles in the next two weeks.

Richmond see midfield future during walk in the park

Not a whole lot can be read into Richmond’s performance against an Eagles side that resembled traffic cones at times.

But Damien Hardwick shuffled the magnets because of injury – and he would have been delighted at what he discovered.

Jayden Short has developed into an elite half back over the past few seasons and has stepped up his game another level after the retirement of Bachar Houli.

However, Hardwick threw a surprise by planting Short into the midfield, and the 26-year-old responded with 31 disposals, including 27 kicks and five clearances.

Shai Bolton has spent time through the midfield during his career, but he was absolutely devastating in the middle and drifting forward.

The 23-year-old had 30 disposals, including 21 kicks, three goals, seven clearances and four tackles in a Brownlow-vote getting display.

If Bolton can develop consistency in his game, there is no doubt he could be of the stars of the competition.

While it was a walk in the park for the Tigers, it doesn’t look like they are going to fall off a cliff like West Coast any time soon.

Shai Bolton Richmond

Eagles pay dearly for Tim Kelly trade

Tim Kelly is a good AFL footballer and a good story for how he came into the elite system.

Is he worth effectively two first round draft picks?

No. And the Eagles are paying dearly for what they handed to Geelong to bring the midfielder back to Western Australia for the 2020 season.

The official deal was West Coast gave pick 14, a future first (pick 18 in 2020), pick 24 and pick 37 to Geelong, who in return passed over Kelly, pick 52 and a future third.

Clearly the Eagles were adding Kelly in a bid to bolster their midfield to have a crack at another premiership.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but there was warning signs things were going to get tough for West Coast and it seems those draft picks for Kelly might have been better invested in draft talent.

Some of the current Eagles youth will emerge over the season, but there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about at the moment.

 

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