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Eagles ready for live-wire Bombers

Rhys Dickinson  May 19, 2017 12:15 PM

Adam Simpson says West Coast could use Drew Petrie's Etihad Stadium experience on Sunday

Adam Simpson says West Coast could use Drew Petrie's Etihad Stadium experience on Sunday

Adam Simpson shied away from declaring any ins and outs ahead of the team’s flight to Melbourne this afternoon.

Perth media pressed the senior coach for confirmation of the final 22 to face Essendon, but Simpson said it was too early to reveal the club’s line-up ahead of Sunday’s match at Etihad Stadium.

“It’s a Sunday game; teams will come out tonight,” Simpson said at Eagles HQ this morning.

“We’ve got guys travelling at different times and all that sort of stuff. It’s just not in my interest to send anything at this time of the day.”

What we do know is that Simpson will consider selecting all three of his recently healed Eagles – Jamie Cripps, Drew Petrie and Jackson Nelson.

Pacey pressure forward Cripps and dashing defender Nelson appear the most likely to return due to Essendon’s live-wire line-up. But Simpson also suggested West Coast might benefit from having experienced Etihad Stadium campaigner Petrie on deck for its round nine fixture.

“He’s missed seven weeks, so we are weighing up that,” Simpson said of Petrie.

“That combined with his experience and how many games he has played at Etihad (is being considered). He’s probably in the top five in the history of the comp with games played there. That experience might help us as well. The chemistry of the side, his form, his confidence, all those things come into play. It’s one of those things that we will battle with for the rest of the day.”

Whoever takes the field on Sunday will be asked to turnaround the team’s recent supply issues.

The Eagles are currently ranked 13th in the AFL for inside 50s, averaging just 49.8 attacking entries through the first eight rounds of the year.

“We’ve been working on that off the track and also on it, how we can strategise a bit better and get a bit more supply,” Simpson said.

“It’s dried up a little bit in the past few weeks. Sometimes things take a while to kick in. Sometimes they don’t work, but I think we are probably averaging two or three less than last year.

“We’d be in the bottom half in the comp with time in forward half and inside 50s. But on the back of that, our contest in the last three weeks and our defence has been probably been up there with the best.”

West Coast will need to produce some of its best football to knock off John Worsfold’s men. The Bombers will be brimming with confidence after beating flag fancies Geelong, but Simpson reckons West Coast has enough talent and form to topple the high-flying Bombers.

“We think their best is exceptional and we also think our best is pretty good as well,” he said.

“Their ball movement and what they are doing in transition is right up there with the best. We respect them highly. They played a good, four-quarter game last week, all be it in the last quarter they dropped a couple of scores.

“If both teams play at their best you’re going to get a pretty good game.”