The West

Eagles know Lecca hard act to follow
Eagles know Lecca hard act to follow

West Coast's midfielders have to step up and take the responsibility for kicking more goals in the absence of star forward Mark LeCras, according to wingman Matt Rosa.

LeCras has been superb for the Eagles in the past two seasons. He booted 63 majors last year, earned All-Australian selection and won the best and fairest.

That effort followed his breakthrough performance in 2009 when he kicked 58 goals.

LeCras kicked 25 per cent of West Coast's goals last year and had booted two of their seven majors against North Melbourne before badly injuring a groin.

Rosa said LeCras' replacement couldn't be expected to match his goal-kicking output, so the midfield would have to work harder to score goals.

West Coast's on-ballers haven't been known for their goal-scoring power in recent years. Chris Judd, Ben Cousins and Daniel Kerr combined for 60 goals in 2006, but it took all of 2009 and 2010 for Rosa, Matt Priddis, Adam Selwood, Brad Ebert, Scott Selwood and Luke Shuey to achieve that tally.

Rosa said everyone had to become more potent.

"We've just got to cover for him. But it's hard to cover for a Mark LeCras," Rosa said.

"We'll all just have to lift. Who- ever comes in will be ready and prepared to go because we've got a full list to choose from.

"Lecca's defensive pressure is good down there, too. We'll need someone to come in and put on the defensive pressure but hopefully the rest of us can all share the goals around."

Andrew Strijk kicked three goals for West Perth on Friday night to give himself a chance at filling a position in attack.

Gerrick Weedon and rookie Lewis Broome are the other small forwards capable of playing in attack, but neither have played an AFL game and Broome is on the rookie list.

The Eagles must also replace Chris Masten, who hurt his left knee in the opening quarter and had an operation yesterday.

All-Australian midfielder Daniel Kerr is the obvious choice now that he has played two WAFL games for East Fremantle.

West Coast battled against the odds to beat North Melbourne by four points on Sunday despite players being forced to remain on the field when they needed a rest.

Midfielder Ebert said the squad's arduous pre-season had paid off.

"Over the pre-season we were working really hard on running and doing hill sessions and all sorts of stuff," Ebert said.

"We knew going into the last quarter that we did have the legs. We've been training in this heat for pretty much all of the pre-season so we were feeling confident and feeling fit."

Nic Naitanui (shoulder) and Patrick McGinnity (foot) face fitness tests for Saturday's clash with Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

The West Australian

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