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'Bring it on': Simpson says Eagles up for a finals fight

August 12, 2017 10:10 PM

Simpson post-match v Blues Watch West Coast's press conference after round 21's match against Carlton

Luke Partington celebrates a goal on Saturday night

WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson insists his playing group believes they can have an impact in September, despite coming perilously close to bowing out of finals contention against Carlton at Domain Stadium on Saturday night. 

The Eagles weathered the Blues’ fast start and looked to have the match under control as they entered the long break with a 31-point buffer. 

But by the end of the third term West Coast’s advantage was reduced to nothing as 17th-placed Carlton gained ascendancy at clearances and trapped the ball inside its attacking half, kicking six goals to one in a show of frightening intensity.

The Eagles harnessed a three-goal breeze to win the final term by 19 points and temporarily claim seventh place on the ladder, but they need to beat at least one of top-two prospects Adelaide and GWS to make finals. 

“We’ve got hope,” Simpson said post-match. 

“We’re in the eight at the moment. We’ve got a couple of big games coming up, but we’re alive and that was the ‘survive and advance’ type of attitude we needed to have.

“We know we’re not perfect and we know there’s still work to do but, like I said, we’re alive.”

Next week’s clash with the Giants shapes as the perfect test for the Eagles’ resolve, with GWS overcoming a mid-season drop in form to produce barnstorming wins over finals fancies Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in its last two matches.

The last time the teams met - at Domain Stadium in round 10 - the Giants tarnished West Coast’s perfect head-to-head record with a nine-point victory, despite a raft of stars missing with injury. 

But the Eagles have fond memories of Spotless Stadium – largely thanks to Nic Naitanui’s last minute match-winning heroics at the end of 2016 – and won’t be intimidated when they come up against Leon Cameron’s men on Saturday. 

“It’s exciting - it’s up for grabs,” Simpson said. 

“You’ll look at tonight’s game and you might think (it’s) a lucky win or (it’s) not very impressive – I’m sure that’s going to come – but we got the win. We’ve played some pretty good footy this year, we’ve beaten some really good sides and we’ve played a good three quarters for most of the year.

“If we can play four quarters at our best, I think we’re as good as anyone.

“I’m a realist, I know where we’re at, but our best is pretty good.

“Bring it on.”

Veteran small forward Mark LeCras was withdrawn late due to a hamstring concern, with the club set to monitor the 30-year-old’s fitness over the coming weeks.