The West

Wounded Force limp towards finals push
Steven Luatua of the Blues is tackled by Hugh McMeniman of the Force. Pic: Getty Images

Western Force were left counting the cost, both on and off the field, following their 40-14 thumping by the Blues at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

The Force's biggest loss of the season left them in seventh spot and their finals aspirations on the brink.

And their injury count paints an equally alarming picture.

Fly-half Sias Ebersohn, captain Matt Hodgson and second-rower Adam Coleman are in danger of missing next Saturday night's must-win clash with the Queensland Reds at nib Stadium.

Ebersohn left the field after 20 minutes with a suspected torn left bicep after a tackle on Blues winger Frank Halai.

Hodgson, who had treatment late in the first half but played out the game, and Coleman, who did not return for the second period, received head knocks.

Coleman failed a concussion test.

If Ebersohn is ruled out, local product Zack Holmes will start, while flanker Chris Alcock will be ready for his return three months after surgery to fix a shoulder he injured against the Waratahs in February.

Winger Nick Cummins is also expected to be cleared of a neck injury sustained in the Wallabies' first Test against France.

Coach Michael Foley needs a spark from his players if the Force's season is to remain alive going into the final matches of the home-and-away season in the next two weeks.

They need to beat the Reds and then the Brumbies in Canberra to shore up a finals berth. However, if other results fall their way they could scrape in with one win plus bonus points.

The Force gave the Blues too many soft opportunities from bad kicking, took wrong options in their own half and had poor body height in contact where the visitors monstered them at the breakdown.

"We weren't ready," Foley said.

"There's been enough things to distract us, whether that's been the three weeks off, Wallabies coming back, you can search for those sorts of things.

"Who knows what the distractions are? You can spend a lot of time chasing shadows.

"The reality is, it's not good enough to put in all the work that we do and then come to the moments that matter most and not be ready.

"Sometimes the pain of that sort of performance brings a focus. What we have to do is accept that if our attitude is right then our focus is right. We're not looking for OK."

The West Australian

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