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'He's a gun': Cripps backs struggling veteran

Cat's treat, enticing Giant, Rory ramps up Nat Edwards with the latest footy news
Mark LeCras has struggled to find the goals in finals - West Coast Eagles,Mark LeCras,AFL
Mark LeCras has struggled to find the goals in finals
He'll probably be one of our best this weekend
Jamie Cripps on Mark LeCras

WEST Coast forward Jamie Cripps is confident Mark LeCras will bounce back with a bang in Saturday night's semi-final clash with GWS at Spotless Stadium.

LeCras went goalless from just nine disposals in last week's extra-time win over Port Adelaide.

In LeCras' 11 finals appearances, he has returned just 12 goals - well down on his usual output.

West Coast are expected to stick with LeCras for Saturday's knockout clash, and Cripps is backing the 31-year-old to produce the goods.

"He's a gun," Cripps said.

"He'd be one of our best forwards - one of the best players in our team.

"He's got a lot of experience, and he'll bounce back, and he'll probably be one of our best this weekend.

"He's massive for us. He's always helping me and Luke Partington out."

LeCras is out of contract at season's end, and his future remains up in the air.

But he showed his value during the back end of the season with a series of strong displays.

West Coast face a massive challenge to back up from last week's elimination final win.

Not only were they forced to play 10 minutes of extra time, but the Eagles will have to travel for a second-straight week.

 

Cripps is confident the players will be able to deal with the extra burden.

"The extra time at the end of the game was nothing. We're a fit group," Cripps said.

"That's what we do pre-season for.

"With the flights, that's just normal for us. We fly every second week."

Cripps has booted 26.18 this season in what has been a solid return.

But it will be his pressure in the forward line that could prove more crucial than his goals when he lines up against the Giants' running backs.

GWS boast a host of speedy rebounding defenders, with the likes of Nathan Wilson and Heath Shaw looming as key figures.

Cripps said it was important to limit the Giants' defensive run.

GWS were dealt a double blow this week when star forward Jeremy Cameron (hamstring) and ruckman Shane Mumford (foot) were ruled out for the rest of the season.

MARK LECRAS' GOAL RETURNS IN FINALS

2006 - 0.1 in a qualifying final loss to Sydney

2007 - 1.0 in a qualifying final loss to Port Adelaide

2007 - 2.3 in a semi-final loss to Collingwood

2011 - 2.0 in a qualifying final loss to Collingwood

2011 - 1.1 in a semi-final win over Carlton

2011 - 1.0 in a preliminary final loss to Geelong

2015 - 2.1 in a qualifying final win over Hawthorn

2015 - 1.3 in a preliminary final win over North Melbourne

2015 - 1.2 in a grand final loss to Hawthorn

2016 - 1.2 in an elimination final loss to the Western Bulldogs

2017 - 0.1 in an elimination final win over Port Adelaide