WEST Coast will need to make history if it is going to turn its expected top-eight finish into a meaningful finals campaign as the club searches for the root cause of its on-field issues.
The Eagles, whose top-eight spot is not yet secured, look likely to be the first team in VFL/AFL history to qualify for finals after suffering two defeats by more than 90 points in the same season.
The defeats to Geelong (97 points) and Sydney (92) are low points in a rollercoaster year, while Saturday's 45-point loss to Collingwood made it four defeats in 2021 by seven goals or more.
Since 1990, there have been 17 teams that have lost four games in a season by 45 points or more but have gone on to play finals, six of which eventually won a final.
Brad Scott's North Melbourne was the most recent in 2015, making a preliminary final after four heavy losses during the season, including two 70-point beltings.
With Monday night's clash against Melbourne followed by games against Fremantle and Brisbane, there is urgency for the 10-9 Eagles to fix their form and make sure of their finals spot.
West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett on Tuesday released a message to supporters and members, saying the club was working hard to "get to the root of the issues".
Nisbett said the Eagles were relying on their leaders to step up and drive improvement in the final three games "with a view to being competitive in a finals berth".
"We don’t accept anything less than full effort and commitment and will continue to review and address the areas that might be contributing to our current lapse in form," Nisbett said.
"Everyone at the club feels the same frustration and disappointment that you do; we know we’re better than what we’ve been putting out on the field and we need to improve."
A lack of defensive pressure has been a recurring issue for the Eagles and they rank No.18 in the competition for Champion Data's pressure rating stat, which measure acts including tackling, chasing and corralling.
Their pressure rating of 1.48 against the Magpies was their lowest this season and the lowest of the round across the AFL. It was the 10th time this season their pressure rating has ranked in the bottom four for the round, and the seventh time it has ranked last.
Asked if a lack of effort was part of the problem for West Coast, midfielder Dom Sheed said the players were giving their all, but a lack of energy was apparent.
"I don't think it's a lack of effort. Everybody goes out there and tries their very best," Sheed said.
"It's probably more a lack of energy in offence and in defence. I think that was a major issue from our game on the weekend, not having the energy to run.
"We've got to train that and do everything we can to make sure on game day we have that energy there."
Sheed said the Eagles' senior players had not become comfortable with their positions in the team and understood they were "only a couple of bad games off being dropped".
He said the players were as disappointed as anyone with their form, but there was still belief they could match it with the best.
"The belief is there, but right now the evidence isn't," he said.