West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson stands firm that brand of football, not away AFL win, was important

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Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
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West Coast coach Adam Simpson speaks to his players during the break.
Camera IconWest Coast coach Adam Simpson speaks to his players during the break. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

West Coast coach Adam Simpson has doubled down on his comments that today’s win away from home was less important than the brand of football they played.

The Eagles’ 14.14 (98) to 8.12 (60) victory over Hawthorn at the MCG comes after weeks criticism about the team’s inability to win away from Optus Stadium before today.

Commenting on their road troubles during the week, Simpson said he didn’t think the team had to win but instead had to “to play the brand that we’re playing at home”.

The premiership coach reiterated that stance after the Eagles banked their fifth victory.

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“I said to our players, I know we get criticised for it a little bit, it’s not about winning away from home it’s about playing consistent football that we think stands up in the long-term,” Simpson said.

“I don’t think we’ve been doing that consistently enough, in particular away, so to play four quarters of the style we like starts with the contest like every club, but I felt like we played more of a complete four-quarter performance today than we have in previous interstate trips.

“I think we’ve owned our inconsistent form, we’ve had games we’ve won at home that’ve been patchy.

“It’s probably more about our roles and our system, all the boring stuff people don’t want to hear. Giving our players that clarity seems to help them be more consistent, so we went back to that and it doesn’t matter where you play.

West Coast may not be leaving Melbourne without any collateral damage though, with stand-in skipper Josh Kennedy subbed out of the game midway through the final term with another calf injury.

Simpson though remained optimistic it wasn’t too serious like the one which saw the spearhead miss the round six thumping against Geelong.

“I think he had it around quarter time onwards so I don’t think its significant,” Simpson said.

“There was a risk that if he kept playing that he might make it worse so we had to make the sub.”

West Coast forward Josh Kennedy finished the game on the sidelines with another calf injury.
Camera IconWest Coast forward Josh Kennedy finished the game on the sidelines with another calf injury. Credit: Quinn Rooney/via AFL Photos

Without key defenders Tom Barrass (shoulder) and Jeremy McGovern (groin), Simpson was forced to use young star Oscar Allen in defence once again despite his propensity to hit the scoreboard and the Eagles failing to kick a goal in the opening quarter on the back of 16 inside 50s.

Simpson said at the first break he thought about sending Allen forward to try to ease their goalkicking woes.

“I think the last 10 minutes he went forward Ossie to finish the game off, but to do that we’d be really short down back, so we’ve got to weigh that up every week,” he said.

“Hawthorn are obviously decimated with injuries as well and combine that with a bit of youth, I think our backline and their forward line where quite young. We probably edged them with experience.

“When Ossie goes back, he’s a mature man. He’s only 21, but he’s like he’s 25 so he helps stabilise that along with Brad Sheppard.

“We thought experience overwhelmed Hawthorn at stages.”

West Coast could get some reinforcements back, with Simpson saying McGovern, Barrass, Liam Ryan, Mark Hutchings and Shannon Hurn would all be “around the mark” for the clash against Adelaide.

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