Main content

West Coast Eagles

Eagles building towards round one

Simpson press conference 12.02.19 The senior coach speaks to the Perth media, following his first Stevie Simpson Cup victory

The West Coast Eagles are likely to lean on the squad mentality that carried them to last year’s flag in 2019 as several players push to be available for round one.

Senior coach Adam Simpson said a number of his charges were still getting up to speed after either undergoing off-season surgery or experiencing a delayed start to pre-season following the club's premiership triumph.

“We've got a group of around 30 players who have done everything and then there's a group who are just trying to catch up,” Simpson revealed.

“That comes with going deep into the finals. Round one is still on target for most of our players, but there's a few guys that are touch and go.”

One player who won’t be available for the club’s season opener against Brisbane is Jamie Cripps.

Simpson said the small forward had only effectively started his pre-season after going under the knife in January to remedy a nagging foot injury.

In more positive news, Simpson said two-time Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy (shoulder) and premiership defender Liam Duggan (knee) should be good to go for the clash with the Lions.

“We just had a bit of a de-load on JK as he went really hard pre-Christmas and in January, so we'll build him back up and get him up for round one,” Simpson said.

“We've just got to be patient with his body and understand he's not 24 anymore.

"He’s just had an interrupted three or four years. We’ve just got to read the cues of his body.

“This is probably the time of year where everyone who has done a fair whack of pre-season needs a bit of a break every now and then, so Duggo falls into that (category).

“A few niggles pop up, we pull them back for a week and then we get them back into it. He did our match sim yesterday, so he’s fine.  

“We learned some really valuable lessons last year that we don’t have to rely on one or two players. I’m sure that’s going to be the case for every club this year.”

Simpson said the club intended to ramp up training in the coming weeks as the season proper drew near.

That will start with an intraclub practice match next Friday, which will give him an idea who will be ready for the club’s JLT Community Series matches against Geelong and Fremantle on March 1 and March 10 respectively.

Given there are only two pre-season hitouts this year, Simpson flagged the possibility of fielding full-strength line-ups for both JLT contests.

“Traditionally you get to expose some younger players in the JLT series, but with only two games I think most teams will just go full strength,” he said.

“There will be a squad of 24 I suppose, or 25 that play. We will try and expose a couple of younger players, especially in our front half. We were pretty young last year and we might be younger this year.”