West Coast coach Adam Simpson has promised not to get angry with his players despite their dramatic fade out against Collingwood on Friday night.
The Eagles were on track for an important victory after opening up an 18-point lead at the 10-minute mark of the third term.
But West Coast were held scoreless for the next 43 minutes - and added just one more point for the entire match - on the way to a heartbreaking one-point loss at Optus Stadium.
The Eagles lost the inside 50m count 20-5 in the final term.
And of equal concern was the contested possession tally for the match, which Collingwood won 158-126.
Simpson was extremely disappointed by that differential, admitting his team "ran out of steam" and simply didn't want it bad enough as Collingwood in the second half.
But he was also measured in his response, not wanting to criticise his players too heavily for what he hopes will only be an aberration.
"It's hard to help the players when you're down in that regard (for contested possessions)," Simpson said.
"The discrepancy was getting out of hand in the last quarter, and we didn't have a lot of levers to pull.
"Is it a pattern? Is it something that happens to us all the time? Did our lack of rotations affect that? Did Collingwood just want it more than us?
"I'm not going to go too angry at the players. I think they've been putting up pretty good effort for most of the year.
"The last quarter was really disappointing. I won't be saying it's unacceptable and we've got to get better, but we got out-hunted in that last quarter and it's something we've got to redeem."
The result dropped West Coast (11-5) out of second spot ahead of next week's clash with Melbourne in Alice Springs.
West Coast goalsneak Jamie Cripps is set for a stint on the sidelines after injuring his groin in the opening term.
One major positive to come out of the match for West Coast was the form of third-gamer Jarrod Cameron, who booted four goals for the second week in a row.
Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui was also a standout in the first half, finishing the match with 14 disposals, 28 hitouts, 11 clearances, and two score assists off just 57 per cent game time.
Naitanui was playing just his third game back from a knee reconstruction, and Simpson admits the 29-year-old is a bit sore.
The Eagles will consider resting Naitanui at some point before the finals.
"We know what we've got with Nic and he knows how far back he's coming back from, and we want to get him right for the whole season," Simpson said.
"So we won't be overdoing it."
Australian Associated Press