Season s best fires Eagles for Pies
Mark Hutchings in the thick of the action against Adelaide. Pic: Getty Images

Mark Hutchings says West Coast’s players will take confidence into Sunday’s clash against Collingwood at Patersons Stadium thanks to a performance he rates as their best of the year.

Saturday’s 31-point win over Adelaide at Adelaide Oval was only the second time this season the Eagles have knocked off a team inside the top eight at the time they played them.

It was a long overdue reward on the back of a tough season that has West Coast sitting 11th with just eight wins in coach Adam Simpson’s first season in charge.

Hutchings said the players had never doubted they were headed in the right direction, but admitted the away victory had helped the group’s self-belief.

“That performance on the weekend was something that we’ve been working towards and haven’t really nailed at all this season,” Hutchings said.

“For us to put it all together on Saturday was really pleasing.

“I think for the group it just shows and gives us confidence that what we’re training and what we’re working on during the week is working.

“It came together a bit more on Saturday. For us that’s the benchmark and we need to bring that every week.”

Hutchings said the key to the win after conceding four goals to the Crows in the first 10 minutes was not panicking.

“We just knuckled down a little bit more, focused a little bit harder, made sure we won the contests especially in the middle of the ground,” he said.

“So it sort of came down to the midfielders.”

Hutchings limited Adelaide danger man Patrick Dangerfield to 26 disposals and one goal.

It is the third successive match the unsung Eagle has been used in a tagging role with some success after being asked to perform run-with roles on Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and Brisbane’s Pearce Hanley.

“It’s been great to help the team out in that way,” Hutchings said.

“I’ve obviously learnt a thing or two along the way. I expect that to be the same again this week and I’m looking forward to it.”

The West Australian

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