West Coast coach Adam Simpson will be focusing on how the Eagles can find ‘little wins’ against reigning premier Melbourne on Sunday, and is excited by the challenges the club's young ruckmen will face against some of the best in the business.

Emerging duo Bailey Williams and Callum Jamieson have 15 games combined experience heading into the Optus Stadium clash, where they – and potentially Harry Edwards - will be confronted by five-time All-Australian Max Gawn and protégé Luke Jackson.

It is one of the intriguing subplots to what shapes as a massive task for the bottom-placed Eagles against an unbeaten Melbourne outfit that has seen off every opponent’s challenge with relative comfort so far in 2022.

“Last week we had a challenge in that space, too, young Harry holding down the ruck for us for the first time in his career, and Jamieson had a go,” Simpson said.

“He’s a young developing ruckman, it might not be that combination this week, but ‘Jammo’ will play and he’ll be playing as a ruck at some stage.

“Learn from the best.”

17:35 Mins
Published ago

Simpson press conference 13.05.22

Senior Coach Adam Simpson addresses the media ahead of this Sunday's game against the Demons

Published ago

After losing Shannon Hurn (calf) and Andrew Gaff (quad) at main training on Thursday, the Eagles had just 24 fit and available players to choose from nine rounds into the campaign.

“Unfortunately, we won’t have a full-strength side with some more injuries but little wins is important for us at the moment,” Simpson said.

“I thought last week we competed as well as we could have (in a 75-point loss to Brisbane). Clearly not good enough in the end and losing the way we did was disappointing, but they looked up for the fight.

“That’s our start point this week.”

02:47 Mins
Published ago

From the Track - Round 9

Presented by ECU, this week Matthew Knights chats to us about his experience as a stand-in coach, and we hear from Jack Redden ahead of his 250th game milestone

Published ago

After emerging from the AFL Health and Safety Protocols, Simpson said he was feeling fine and was stoic about guiding the club through a difficult period.

“It’s time to lead. It’s time to step up,” Simpson said.

“Criticism comes when you don’t perform or it doesn’t look like it’s smooth sailing, so you’ve just got to stay resilient.

“We’ll find out a lot about ourselves as a club, who’s up for the fight.

“It's really difficult because of the injuries and COVID and then synergy on-field is a real challenge.

“We'll get through that and do everything we can to get better as quick as we can.

“We'll look at everything at the end of the year, every couple of years we review the (Football) department and that will happen again.”

Luke Shuey

West Coast’s health issues have presented a major challenge, with Simpson confirming goalsneak Willie Rioli has a six-week hamstring while a pair of dual John Worsfold medallists in Luke Shuey (hamstring) and Elliot Yeo remain sidelined.

Shuey has managed just 11 games in the past two seasons, with Yeo running out only 14 times in blue and gold.

“(Shuey) should be available next week. No one is more frustrated than him,” Simpson said.

“It’s not just him at the moment, unfortunately with (Dom) Sheed and Yeo and now Gaff, we’ve been light on – and Nic (Naitanui) in the midfield.

“Leaders want to play. It’s been a challenge for him, but he’s doing everything he possibly can to get himself right, so that’s why the frustration is even more.

“There’s nothing more he can do.

Elliot Yeo

“(Yeo’s) just been unavailable pretty much for two years, or even more. He leads with his actions. That’s been really hard for him to handle. When he got himself reasonably right, he gets knocked out, and now he’s in COVID protocols.

“That will be one and a half games he’s played this year. Hopefully it’s a moment in time for him. If he can get his body right and get himself fit and firing, he’s a two-time best and fairest winner, All-Australian, premiership player.

“Him at his best, he’s in the top bracket of the competition. We’ve just got to get him back to that.”

Meanwhile, one of the club’s most consistent midfielders, 2018 premiership star Jack Redden, will this week reach his 250-game milestone – after 129 appearances for Brisbane and 120 for the Eagles since he was traded west at the end of 2015.

“I remember when he came over, there was no one he knew here. It was like he just wanted to come to West Coast. I still don’t know why he came, but really happy he did,” Simpson said.

Jack Redden and Adam Simpson

“He fit into the environment and culture really well. He’s been magnificent for us.

“He’s been really holding up the fort this year, he’s been available most weeks and he’s been doing roles for us, doing everything he can to help us be competitive.”