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West Coast Eagles

Round 9: Pressing questions

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

Adam, the two teams probably haven’t been at their best but tonight something seemed to shift and it was a bloody good game of footy. What were your thoughts?

It would have been a great game to watch. I thought Melbourne just came over and threw everything at us. It looked like a really good game. There were ebbs and flows. We couldn’t stop their ball movement. Their speed and the way that they attack the corridor was something we prepared for but to shut it down was really difficult. We were probably fortunate there at stages with supply against us. That was a concern, but I thought the boys handled it quite well in the end. In the last quarter, it was just a tough, hard slog. I’m really, really proud of our players.

There were some big moments, none bigger than that Liam Ryan's mark. What was the reaction in the box for a player so young to stand up?

I was on the bench, so I was caught up in it as well. It’s just great for Liam. He’s worked his backside off the last couple of years and he’s come from a long way back. He’s still got a lot of work to do, but his endeavour, work rate 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.

Do you feel like you turned a corner tonight at all?

I think we’re still a little bit inconsistent. We haven’t quite hit a four-quarter performance, but we’re winning, so that’s the pleasing part. We’re 6-3 and hopefully setting up a really good platform for the second half of the season. But no, we’re not playing at our best. Teams are shutting us down; we’re not helping ourselves as well, but if we’re alive in the contest we can keep getting to work.

Is the way you played the last quarter, the daring play you showed, the blueprint for the rest of the season?

The way we played in the last was around the contest, around winning the ball and getting deeper entries and all those type of things that you want as a coach. The boys have been together for a while, they know some of the things that we can go to if we have to. We’d just like to start a bi better and get a little bit more consistent with our ball movement throughout four quarters. But Melbourne was tough, that was a tough game. I’ve said this before, but winning’s really hard and we’ll take what happened tonight any day of the week.   

Can you talk us through the Hickey and Schofield switch? Was it soreness?

(Schofield) got a big knock last week early and he was really brave. He got through the game. It’s happened probably five times to us this year where we have left a guy really late before we’ve made a decision on key position players. For Schofield not to play, Oscar Allen’s got to go back, you’ve got no choice but to play the two rucks. We thought it might happen. We wanted to leave it as late as we could and that’s what happened in the end.

How’s (Daniel) Venables?

He’s got concussion, but he’s okay. He watched the TV in the rooms and I just spoke to him before; he seemed up and about but a little bit groggy. We’ll have to take the right protocols throughout the week and see how he goes.

You lost him pretty early. How did it shake up (your strategy)?

We just had to manage. I think Melbourne lost a few soldiers as well. It was one of those nights. I don’t know how it looked from your angle, but it looked pretty combative. I’m not surprised there’s a few sore boys.

How did you assess that ruck battle?

He’s a good ruckman, Gawn. I suppose we denied his uncontested possessions, which was pleasing. Everything he did he really had to earn. There’s some players that are just really hard to stop. 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.

When you look at some of the stats – you guys lost inside 50s, contested possessions and clearances – do you still come away (positively)? How do you reflect on that?

Well, we won. I was on the bench in the last quarter and I thought our crowd just got so involved. It was just such a great environment. Our players are privileged to play in front of such a special crowd. But the facts are the numbers probably don’t stack up, and that’s been the case for most the year. Our supply has gone down, so we are working really hard to get that right. If we can win in the meantime that’s great and hopefully we can get our numbers up. I don’t know how many times we’ve had over 50 inside 50s this year, but it wouldn’t be too many.