STAR midfielder Elliot Yeo still believes West Coast can defend its premiership, despite facing an unprecedented road just to reach the Grand Final.

Entering round 21, the Eagles looked almost untouchable in the top four - two wins and percentage clear of fifth place.

But they slipped outside after losing to Richmond and Hawthorn, and no longer have the safety net of a double chance in September.  

Jack Darling contemplates the loss against the Hawks. 

From fifth position, the Eagles are long odds to make it back to the Grand Final.

Under the current finals system, which was revamped at the turn of the century, no team has reached the season decider coming off back-to-back interstate trips.  

Even if they can overcome improving Essendon, coached by favourite West Coast son John Worsfold, in an elimination final, the Eagles would have to win two road finals to make the Grand Final and defy history.  

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"I feel like we can do it, but it's not a position we wanted to be in," Yeo told

"Obviously it's a lot harder to go deeper into finals."

Willie Rioli crashes into Liam Shiels on Saturday night. Picture: Daniel Carson, AFL Photos

Since 2000, only the Western Bulldogs have managed to come from outside the top four and get to the Grand Final, let alone win the flag, after finishing seventh in 2016.  

Luke Beveridge's fairytale premiership team travelled to Perth and Sydney during September, but had a semi-final at the MCG against Hawthorn sandwiched between those two road trips. 

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While the Eagles will draw confidence from their 14-8 interstate record over the past two seasons, including five wins from the past six MCG visits, they have work to do just to see off the Bombers. 

West Coast's win-loss against the other finalists (4-4) is hardly emphatic this season, and that record is just one victory from five games against the top four teams.

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Hammered by Richmond at the contest, the Eagles zeroed in on that area against Hawthorn but were still thrashed (-14) in an alarming sign.

Jaeger O'Meara tries to break a Josh Kennedy tackle. Picture: AFL Photos

"They were able to shut that (our ball movement) down but they just won it at the contest," said Yeo, one of seven Eagles named in the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian 40-man squad on Monday.

"Every time we'd try and get it to the wing or get it to that high half-back spot, we'd just lose the contest most of the time and they'd get really good looks off that.

"It was pretty disappointing really, it felt like we got smashed around the ground a fair bit. 

"Especially with how things are with the ladder now, that's pretty disappointing.

"We've shot ourselves in the foot a fair bit, really."