LIAM Duggan says Sunday's loss to North Melbourne was "one of the more enjoyable games" he's played in and brushed off any integrity issues after West Coast was forced into mass changes.
The Eagles made an AFL-record 14 changes for the round two side with 12 players entering into the League's health and safety protocols including Josh Kennedy, Tom Barrass, Jack Redden and Nic Naitanui, while they were without Andrew Gaff (foot) and lost Jackson Nelson to a knee issue in the warm-up.
Despite that, West Coast pushed the Kangaroos all the way with Jack Darling hitting the post with a set shot that would have closed the margin to 10 points with more than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, before North ran out 15-point winners.
AFL greats Mick Malthouse and Garry Lyon have been among those to claim the integrity of the competition was compromised on Sunday given West Coast's outs but Duggan brushed that off.
"The integrity of the game was fine," Duggan told reporters on Tuesday.
"We understand the AFL said the games are going ahead. Contingency lists were put together and we've had to utilise it. I think we got some real positives out of it."
AFLW PRELIMS Get your FREE tickets here
The defender added that the Eagles genuinely believed that they could have won the game and didn't view it as a nothing-to-lose free hit.
"(It was) definitely a game we genuinely thought we could go win," he said. "I think that belief was there right until the final siren," he said.
"Declan Mountford kicked our last goal and his words as everyone was coming around to him was saying 'let's get another, let's get another' with a minute to go and that was the mindset the whole way through.
"We had some new blokes come into the side but the belief was there that we could win that game. We took it right up to North with a bunch of boys we'd only just met a few days before."
The Eagles fielded three debutants in WAFL stalwart Aaron Black along with AFL-listed Callum Jamieson and Jack Williams, who appeared out of their depth at times. West Coast also had six players playing their first game for the club.
"I think the mood that we had going into the game last week was superb," Duggan said. "You could understand if the boys were a bit flat and a bit down, as it's been hard to get some contact face to face.
"It was one of the more enjoyable games that I've been a part of in my time at the footy club which I think speaks volumes of how the club, staff and players were able to handle the week. The new blokes brought a lot of energy."
Duggan admitted he was sore after his first game back since off-season knee surgery where he played managed minutes (77% TOG) but declared he'd be fine for Sunday's Western Derby.
From the dozen Eagles who missed the loss due to protocols, Kennedy returned to training on Tuesday, while the remainder are expected out later in the week but no certainties will be declared available for Sunday given the week in isolation.
Gaff was also absent from training on Tuesday, while Nelson completed a running session away from the main group.
"(Gaff) did some inside stuff but he's pretty confident that he'll be right to go," Duggan said.
"I think it was a 50-50 call, a late call out. It wouldn't have been the week we had without Gaffy going down and Jacko right before the siren. It was just another little curveball we've been dealt."