West Coast coach Adam Simpson does not accept his players are overweight or unfit - but concedes the club's AFL season is already on the line.
The Eagles' premiership hopes are on thin ice after slumping to three straight losses in their Gold Coast hub.
West Coast will be aiming to turn around their fortunes when they take on Sydney at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
Former Fremantle and St Kilda coach Ross Lyon threw a spanner in the works earlier this week when he questioned whether some of the Eagles players returned from the coronavirus shutdown a bit "heavy".
Simpson does not accept that is the case, but concedes his players are not running at the same level they normally do.
"What we're not doing is we're not running on game day," Simpson said.
"The week before we came here we had an intraclub (match) and it was the highest running game we had at the club.
"Before they got on the plane (to travel to the Gold Coast hub) they were pretty fit, so I don't think it's a fitness issue. It's (about) delivering on game day and doing it all day."
West Coast take on Adelaide at the Gabba next week before facing Fremantle in Perth.
If the Eagles enter the derby with a 2-4 or 1-5 record, they will find it tough to stay in the premiership race.
"If we continue to lose, there'll be a point where we can't claw our way back," Simpson said.
"That's in front of us. Pressure's a privilege. We need to own it and embrace it."
West Coast make four changes this week, with premiership defender Lewis Jetta the highest profile axing.
The former Swan has struggled to find his usual magic touch this season, but Simpson says he is not the only one.
"Take your pick with form at the moment for us," Simpson said.
"As a unit we've been collectively down. There's probably 12 players in that boat."
Ruckman Tom Hickey has also been also axed, while Will Schofield (suspension) and Jarrod Brander (hip) are the others to go out.
Jeremy McGovern returns from an ankle injury, and is joined in the side by defender Jackson Nelson, forward Jake Waterman, and swingman Oscar Allen
Sydney have lost ruck duo Callum Sinclair and Sam Naismith to injury, meaning Hayden McLean and defender Aliir Aliir will have to go up against star Eagles big man Nic Naitanui.
Simpson plans to give Naitanui more minutes this week after playing it cautiously with the 30-year-old during the opening four rounds.
Sydney dropped to 11th spot following last week's 28-point loss to the Bulldogs.
Australian Associated Press