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Thrashings take toll on Eagles confidence
Thrashings take toll on Eagles confidence

Ruckman Dean Cox has admitted West Coast's confidence has been rattled by three thumping losses and they need to play well against Geelong on Friday night to prove a point to themselves.

The Eagles were in second place, just percentage behind ladder leaders Sydney after round 15. Since then they have lost to the Swans by 52 points, Adelaide by 49 and Fremantle by 65 to plummet to fifth.

They are now three wins behind the Swans and are one win and percentage behind fourth-placed Hawthorn.

The thumpings have raised questions about West Coast's ability to compete with the top teams.

Cox said the players didn't care about outside opinions but a victory over Geelong would have plenty of significance inside the club.

"Probably to show ourselves more. We can't really determine what happens externally, but we've got to make sure we're confident within each other," Cox said.

"Some things that happened on the weekend, individually, as a side and as a playing group, we can't stand for.

"At stages throughout a year, sides have been written off. Everyone's probably doing it to us at the minute. We're happy with that. We'll rectify that with performance."

Having lost Matt Rosa to a broken jaw before Saturday's derby, West Coast's injury problems continued on the weekend. Brad Sheppard (corked thigh) was subbed out and Chris Masten finished with a hamstring problem.

Small forward Murray Newman has been ruled out for three weeks after suffering a knee injury in the WAFL on Saturday.

But the Eagles will be strengthened by the return of captain Darren Glass from suspension. He will add experience and skill to a back line which conceded eight goals to Matthew Pavlich and must confront in-form Tom Hawkins on Friday at Patersons Stadium.

Andrew Embley is expected to play his first AFL game since round two after recovering from shoulder surgery and playing two games in the WAFL.

Cox battled on Saturday and collected just nine possessions, which was his quietest game for the season. It came just one week after he suffered an ankle injury against Brisbane.

Cox and ruck partner Nic Naitanui didn't train yesterday, but the multiple All-Australian denied his ankle impacted on his performance.

He also brushed off suggestions the Eagles were tiring after a long season of trying to cover for so many injured senior players.

Friday night's game starts a tough month for West Coast in which they also face Collingwood and Hawthorn.

But Cox said the players couldn't afford to worry about the ladder.

"We're aiming to win games of footy. I think where we finish is irrelevant," Cox said.

"If we dish up performances like we did on the weekend, we're going to be out quickly in the finals.

"We've shown over our year so far that when we do play near our best, we're good enough to beat any side. It's just a matter of trying to get back near that as quickly as possible."