Eagles still searching for first genuine scalp
West Coast’s Elliot Yeo loses his two front teeth in a collision with Collingwood’s Jarrod Witts at the MCG. Picture: Greg Ford/AFL Media

West Coast must embrace their tough draw in the next three weeks and beat a top-eight team to prove they are good enough to play finals, according to midfielder Andrew Gaff.

The Eagles produced one of their best performances of the year on Saturday when they led by three goals against Collingwood during the third term at the MCG, but lost by eight points.

West Coast are only a game outside the eight but their wins have been against the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, St Kilda and Greater Western Sydney.

They face North Melbourne, Hawthorn and Gold Coast in the next three weeks and Gaff said they had to prove they were good enough to beat the best teams.

"If you want to play finals and want to do well in finals, you've got to beat good teams," Gaff said.

"We don't want to just scrape in there. We want to be one of the best teams in the comp. Ultimately that means you've got to beat Collingwood away from home.

"We've got a tough next couple of weeks but we've got to start beating these teams in order to do some damage."

Gaff said West Coast's pressure was the best it had been all year.

Mark LeCras' return from suspension this weekend will provide more forward potency.

West Coast had 66 inside 50s against the Magpies, which is above their average of 49, but couldn't kick a winning score.

Gaff said the team should take confidence from controlling the game for long periods.

"It shows that we can match it with anyone and we can play well. Previously, in those other few games where we played the better teams we didn't show up to play," Gaff said. "That needs to be our benchmark in every game. Whoever we play, we know that when we're on we can beat anyone like we almost did.

"We definitely took a step forward. Our pressure and the way we used the ball was a big step forward but ultimately we came over for the four points and we didn't get it."

Gaff paid tribute to midfielder Elliot Yeo, who played the second half with two broken teeth.

Yeo had his two front teeth smashed after a clash with Collingwood ruckman Jarrod Witts, whose shoulder crashed into the Eagle's mouth.

The former Brisbane defender will visit a dentist to have the teeth capped but ignored the injury to play well for the Eagles.

Six of his 10 possessions in the second half were contested.

"If something like that happens, it is pretty easy to go into your shell and not do the things that you normally do," Gaff said.

"He definitely stood up and put his body on the line."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

More from The West