West Australian coach Mike Naidoo has described the West Coast Eagles as “unpossible” and a “giant step backwards” from the last few years.
Naidoo’s comments come after West Coast’s premiership record was left in tatters when they finished outside the top eight of the West Footscray Power Rankings.
West Coast finished last season at the bottom of the ladder, with only two wins in 12 matches.
But the Eagles won the first three rounds of the finals against Collingwood and Hawthorn before losing the next two games to St Kilda and Geelong.
Nadoo said West Coast would face a daunting task this season, particularly against the likes of Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Fremantle, who have a combined record of 16-4.
“I’ve said all along the West has been a giant step backwards,” Naidoos said.
“We’ve had to adapt and we’ve had a tough year.
I’m sure in the off season, when the boys have had time to decompress, we’ll be in a position where we can have some really good games and win some big ones.”
Naidoos had an excellent season, finishing third in the West in 2016 and winning the West-West final.
The Eagles’ win over Hawthorn in round five of the season was their best ever and their only finals win since the 2007 grand final.
But they were knocked out by Richmond in the first game of the Grand Final.
West’s record is now the worst in the AFL, with their average loss of more than 17 points per game now the second-worst in the competition.
West will play a home-and-away series against Richmond at Adelaide Oval on June 17 and then travel to Melbourne for the second match of the round on June 19.
“If we can get a little bit of luck this year we can beat some of the big boys,” Noughtoo said.
“We’ve got to find a way to get a few more wins.”