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Simpson takes wait and see approach

Rhys Dickinson  March 9, 2017 9:30 PM

Simpson post-match v Demons Watch the full West Coast post match press conference
AFL 2017 JLT Community Series - West Coast Eagles v Melbourne

Adam Simpson says the Eagles will make the most of its 17-day break ahead of round one

”Good opposition; good hit out; no injuries. We bank it and we move on.”

That was Adam Simpson’s short and sharp summary of West Coast’s 25-point JLT Community Series win over Melbourne this evening.

The Eagles’ senior coach said he was pleased with the result, but he believed West Coast had plenty to work on ahead of its opening 2017 premiership season battle with North Melbourne in 17 days’ time.

“It was a good game for us for a variety of reasons,” he explained

“[We had] no injuries [and] we played 22. Everyone looked a bit buggered there at the end, but we got our minutes in.

“We got to work on the way we want to play under pretty good pressure. Melbourne are going to be a very good side in the future – in the short term future too.”

Several analysts noted the Eagles’ eagerness to handball the Sherrin around the ground throughout the evening.

West Coast used the ball 213 times by hand at Domain Stadium, but Simpson said it wasn’t so much a conscious effort as it was simply reacting to the Demons’ defensive pressure.

“It’s not a directive from me,” Simpson said.

“It’s just play in terms of what the opposition give you, but we were probably better prepared for it this year. We trained a bit more of it over the break, but it’s not our number one priority.”

West Coast’s ability to transition the ball from defence to attack with coast-to-coast plays was also a feature of the match.

The Eagles dominated the disposal count 455-384 and at one stage almost 75 per cent of the home side’s possessions were uncontested.

While Simpson enjoyed the free flowing nature of the Eagles’ play, he said his charges needed to figure out other avenues to goal ahead of the season proper.

“We kicked eight goals from the back half transition and that’s probably not our way,” Simpson revealed.

“We were happy to get the ball back and move it like we did on occasions tonight; it looked great and it looked great last week as well, but can you sustain that? We’d probably like to get it in our front half a little bit more. It’s not all about ball movement, it’s our whole style of play.”

A number of Eagles appear set to stake their claim for round one call ups during East Perth’s pre-season trial match against East Fremantle on Saturday.

Simpson said Jack Redden and Tom Barrass, who were named to play tonight but didn’t take the field, would line up at ATOM Stadium alongside the likes of Scott Lycett, Jonathan Giles and Liam Duggan.

“The boys that played tonight they’ve got their spots at the moment, so we’ll just see how we go,” he said.

“We’ve got 17 days before round one. We’ll see how they pull up and see how the other guys go at East Perth. There’s good numbers, so that’s pleasing.”