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Simpson pleased with midfield response

April 11, 2015 12:49 AM

Simpson post-match v Blues Watch West Coast's press conference after round two's match against Carlton

ADAM Simpson didn't even know Josh Kennedy had kicked 10 goals against Carlton, as the coach was more focused on his team's midfield performance.

Kennedy kicked his ninth goal after the three-quarter-time siren and his 10th early in the last quarter but Simpson was more interested in the supply his midfielders gave to the power forward in the Eagles' 69-point win over the Blues, after a dismal midfield showing against the Western Bulldogs.

"I didn't even know," Simpson said.

"I just wanted to get it in there. Last week we had 40 inside 50s. We think if we can give our forwards a good opportunity then they'll get to work. The most important thing is getting it in there."

Simpson was nonetheless pleased with his vice-captain's performance. He revealed that Kennedy had added some size over the summer to help maintain his strength in one-on-one battles longer in games.

"He's put on some size," Simpson said. 

"He looks stronger for longer now in games. He didn't come off today, and in the last minute he was trying to chase down small defenders.

"I'm not surprised. I'm happy he's kicked 10. But I don't expect him to kick 10 every week."

Aside from Kennedy's haul and the dominance of the Eagles midfield, the move of Matt Rosa to tag Chris Judd after quarter-time was a masterstroke.

Judd had 12 possessions in the first term and the Blues led by 12 points, but after quarter-time, Rosa held Judd to just seven touches and the Blues kicked only three more goals for the match.

Simpson said the Eagles had planned for Rosa to fill that role in the absence of Scott Selwood and Mark Hutchings.

"There weren’t too many others to go with Juddy," Simpson said.

"We didn't start with a run-with player at the start of the game.

"We gave Rosa the challenge. We gave him a few goes at it pre-season just in case Selwood or Hutchings weren't playing. He did the job really well so we're really pleased with that."

Selwood was withdrawn on Thursday after experiencing soreness in his troublesome ankle. Simpson said the soreness was in a different part of the ankle that has been operated on twice, but the midfielder is in doubt to face Fremantle next week.

"It's the same ankle he hurt last year but it's a different area," Simpson said.

"We're hoping it's not too long. But it'll be touch and go next week."

Simon Tunbridge injured his ankle in the win but Simpson did not know the extent of the injury.

The Eagles have nine days to recover before facing Fremantle in the first Western Derby of the year next Sunday at Domain Stadium.