Leigh Matthews
Leigh Matthews

Football legend Leigh Matthews has scoffed at John Worsfold's claims that West Coast can challenge for a premiership by 2012, saying the coach is dreaming if he believes it is a realistic time frame

The Eagles have not played finals since 2007 and have won only 15 of 53 games since then. West Coast enter round 10 in 13th place, with just three wins, and face sixth-placed Carlton at Etihad Stadium tomorrow.

Worsfold is confident the squad can challenge for a premiership by 2012, despite its inability to compete against the top teams in recent years.

He said the club's younger players were developing well and would take the team to the next level.

But Matthews said the Eagles were a long way from becoming a premiership threat.

"I have no idea how John Worsfold, except in his dreams, thinks the Eagles are a premiership side in two or three years," Matthews said on Melbourne radio. "I don't see that at all.

"I don't know them well enough to be able to do a detailed analysis of their list. But to me they are currently a bottom-third team. If you are a bottom-third side you can pop up to the next third easily enough, but I don't see them being a premiership side in the near future.

"John Worsfold said the words, and I know sometimes in this day and age you have got to talk things up for the future.

"But for the life of me I cannot see how you would be more than hopeful of being a premiership team in a few years. Certainly not with the personnel there at the moment."

West Coast have targeted early draft picks since 2007 after losing Chris Judd and Ben Cousins.

Premiership players Chad Fletcher, Michael Braun, Adam Hunter, Tyson Stenglein, David Wirrpanda, Rowan Jones, Daniel Chick, Drew Banfield, Mark Seaby and Steven Armstrong have been replaced by youngsters who the club hopes can take it to the next level.

West Coast have drafted 11 players inside the top 25 selections since winning the 2006 flag and recruited top- four pick Josh Kennedy from Carlton in the trade for Judd.

Mitch Brown, Chris Masten, Brad Ebert, Tony Notte, Scott Selwood, Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Tom Swift, Brad Sheppard, Gerrick Weedon and Koby Stevens were highly rated juniors. The Eagles believe they will become key AFL players.

But Brownlow medallist Gerard Healy questioned the number of stars West Coast had in their team.

"I think they are weakest in their running department," Healy said. "People blame the forward line but I think their forward line is a product of a midfield that has got very few good kicks in it, very few good runners in it and are four or five short of the top midfielders.

"They need to get Kerr back obviously, but he has not been playing good footy in the absence of Cousins and Judd. I am not sure they have got too many A-grade players."

West Coast made only one change for the clash with Carlton. Mark Nicoski replaced Ashton Hams. Carlton made four forced changes.

The West Australian

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