AFL coach’s brutally honest admission
West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson has called his side’s effort into question after it went down by a combined 147 points in its last two outings.
Simpson’s Eagles entered the season with designs on hoisting the premiership trophy, but after falling emphatically to Sydney and the Western Bulldogs in rounds 15 and 16, fresh doubt hangs over their top eight credentials.
“A lot of it’s got to do with effort and work rate, so that’s pretty evident,” Simpson told reporters on Thursday when asked to explain his side’s slump.
“It’s hard to execute the style of play or to defend the opposition if we can’t bring that. Our players are aware of that.
“(We’re) trying to tap into why we were so poor for two weeks. Ten days ago we were in a pretty good position, so working through the ‘why’ is something we’re working on and continuing to work on our method.”
Simpson, who guided the Eagles to the 2018 premiership, conceded inconsistency had plagued the side’s 2021 campaign.
“Ability to perform every week is important, we’ve been pretty good at it for a long period of time,” he said.
“So, disappointing on the weekend it was so off compared to Sydney. There’s no excuse for it, we’ve just got to be aware of it and get on with it.”
Adam Simpson has coached the Eagles since 2014. Picture: AAP Image/Darren EnglandSource:AAP
The former 300-game player was reluctant to point the finger at individual players, insisting the entire squad and coaching staff must shoulder the burden of the side’s slump.
“It’s all of us,” he said.
“We all feel responsible. We own it, is the direction going forward. That’s as simple as it can be. Talk doesn’t really count in these situations, you need to go out and perform and do it through your actions.
“Judge us on Monday night and hopefully we’re a bit better than we were on the weekend.”
Simpson was hopeful veteran midfielder Andrew Gaff would overcome a thumb injury in time to line up for the side’s round 17 clash. The 29-year-old was a late withdrawal from the squad to face Sydney.
“We’re hoping he’s available this week,” Simpson said.
The outlook isn’t so positive for Jack Redden and Jamaine Jones, who Simpson said would both miss “a few weeks” with knee and foot injuries respectively.
As the season approaches its pointy end, the seventh-placed Eagles’ hold on a top eight spot is tenuous, with Richmond, Fremantle and St Kilda all just one win behind them. The Giants are even closer, sitting only two points away from West Coast in eighth.
However, the Eagles enjoy a relatively smooth run home, only facing two sides currently in the top eight over the last seven rounds of the regular season.
They will hope to get their season back on track against North Melbourne, the club with which Simpson won two premierships as a player, this Monday.
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