We can lift for derby, says Cox
Carlton's Marc Murphy escapes from Dean Cox. Pic: Getty Images

Dean Cox has promised West Coast will come out snarling in Sunday's western derby after their shocking fade-out against Carlton.

"We've got eight days to hit the training track, do what we want to do and then hit Freo as hard as we possibly can," Cox said at Etihad Stadium after the three-point loss to the Blues.

The Eagles were stunned to lose to Carlton on Saturday night after leading by 24 points during the final term.

Cox said there was no way they should have even been fighting to win the game after leading by so much.

The six-times All-Australian conceded there were many bad signs throughout the match, including the second term where the Eagles laid just five tackles.

"It's not acceptable to have the lead we had, especially late (and lose)," Cox said.

"They took their opportunities when they went forward, we kicked 1.8 in the last quarter.

"Our execution going inside 50 (was poor), early on our tackles and contested ball were down, but we were still holding on.

"You can't have five tackles in a quarter - that's unacceptable.

"We gave away three 50m penalties. A couple went directly to goal. The boys have to have a good look at themselves."

Cox said the team's inability to find a clear target inside 50 would hurt it again unless it found a way to improve.

The trends of the round-four loss to Geelong were again on show, with inaccurate goal kicking and a lack of pressure when the opposition had the ball.

But Cox said an inability to make the most of their tall targets in attack was particularly galling. West Coast have taken 15 marks inside the forward 50m in the past three weeks, while conceding 40.

The Eagles either missed their forwards with poor disposal or kicked the ball to the opposition.

Cox said that had to change against Fremantle because, if Docker Michael Johnson escapes suspension when the match review panel meets today, he would be waiting for them as a loose man in defence.

"We had more inside 50s, more scoring shots, so we have to work on our forward connection," Cox said.

"Ideally you want to be marking the ball inside 50 in the corridor. Sides play one back and don't allow you to do that so you have got to try and get uncontested marks in the forward 50.

"(Johnson) reads the game really well and it's a matter of us trying to make sure that we come up with a plan to combat it.

"We'll try to make him and the whole side defend."

Despite the three losses in a row, Cox said West Coast would enter the derby confident.

He said the only positive from the losses was it was easy to identify why the team had lost.

"It's certainly some minor things. It's a really good challenge to do it this week," he said.

The West Australian

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