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West Coast Eagles

Simpson proud of resilient Eagles

Simpson post-match v Demons Adam Simpson discusses West Coast's thrilling 16-point win over Melbourne

West Coast might not be firing on all cylinders, but coach Adam Simpson says banking the four points is his No.1 priority as the Eagles attempt to set up their premiership defence.

With their backs to the wall trailing Melbourne by 12 points at the final change on Friday night, the Eagles surged home on the back of a six-goal-to-one final term to clinch their third-straight victory.

It improved their record to 6-3 and lifted West Coast into the top four, for now.

The Demons were the better side for most of the contest, but Simpson praised his players for turning the tide after Melbourne threatened to kick away, leading by 19 points during time-on in the third quarter.

"It would've been a great game to watch. I thought Melbourne came over and threw everything at us," Simpson said.

"We couldn't stop their ball movement, their speed, the way they attacked the corridor was something we prepared for, but to shut it down was really difficult and we were probably fortunate there at stages with supply against us.

"I thought the boys handled it quite well in the end and in the last quarter it was just a tough, hard slog.

"Really, really proud of our players."

The Eagles' storming final term was sparked by a controversial Luke Shuey goal in the opening minute which came down to the umpire's call after the ball was touched on the goal line by Sam Frost.

West Coast hit the front shortly after, before Jayden Hunt levelled scores for the visitors, but the defining moment of the match belonged to livewire Eagles forward Liam Ryan.

Sprinting around the boundary line, Ryan timed his arrival at the top of the goalsquare to perfection and leapt onto Max Gawn's shoulders for a stunning mark that brought the crowd to their feet.

After Ryan converted the goal, the Eagles were never headed.

"I was on the bench, so I was caught up in it as well. Just great for Liam," Simpson said.

"He's worked his backside off the last couple of years. He's come from a long way back, he's still got a lot of work to do, but his endeavour, workrate and commitment to the club has been first-class.

"We're trying to help him through some things and he's working really hard as well."

After being shut out of last year's 66-point preliminary final demolition by the Eagles, Gawn was almost the hero for Melbourne after dominating the ruck.

The 208cm giant finished with 56 hitouts, seven clearances and 15 possessions, sparking Melbourne's midfield with his clever taps to advantage. 

"He's a good ruckman Gawn. We denied his uncontested possessions, (that) was pleasing. So everything he did, he had to really earn, but there are some players who are just really hard to stop," Simpson said.

"I thought our boys battled really hard and executed our strategy, but he still had a pretty good influence, Gawn, with the way he rucked. That's really hard to stop."

The Eagles lost Daniel Venables to concussion during the second quarter, but Simpson said the young forward was in reasonable shape post-match in the rooms.

"He seemed up and about but a little bit groggy," Simpson said.

"We'll have to take the right protocols throughout the week and see how he goes."