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West Coast Eagles

Round 16: Pressing questions

Simpson post-match v Dockers Hear from Adam Simpson after our 91-point win over the Dockers in RAC Derby 50!

Did you see that coming?

No, you don’t know what you’re going to get. We prepared for Fremantle at their best and the weather did play its part a little bit. I thought the start of the game was red hot. Their pressure was better than ours, but I thought we might have handled the conditions better at stages, in particular that second quarter. It wouldn’t have been a pretty game with the weather, but I thought we handled it pretty well.

You were able to play pretty clinical football given the weather, particularly away from stoppage and how you finished?

I don’t know if it was clinical. I think we had our fair share of contest wins that were important. We had a bit of dirty footy go in the front half  and we managed to crumb it well and knock it on to an opponent that was in a better position. We were pretty accurate after quarter time and obviously Freo weren’t; they missed a lot of opportunities but won the inside 50 battle. We’ve got some things that we still need to work on.

Doesn’t it come down to the quality of opportunities you have created compared to the quality of opportunities you opponents create?

I thought our defenders stood up pretty well today. I don’t know how many inside 50s we conceded, around 60. Sometimes that comes with add-in players from kick ins because we had a few of them, but I thought in the contest when it mattered most our defenders stood up and made it quite difficult for Fremantle to get a score in a good position.

What about your stoppage crew, led by Nic? How did you rate them and the fact you were able to score so much from stoppages?

That was pleasing. We’ve had Nic for two weeks and I think Hickey is holding up his end too. When he comes in we don’t seem to be dropping away at all either. In fact, he’s doing a pretty good job handling that. We’re about the collective. Our mids, we try not to reply on too many individuals and as a collective I thought we had a pretty good day.

It was quite amazing what Naitanui produced from 50 per cent game time.

Just keep that in the back of your mind when he has a quiet one and has no marks in a game. We’ve missed Nic. We had him for 17 weeks last year and it was really unfortunate he wasn’t there in the back end of the season, but we’re a better team with him in it. Fifty per cent capacity, that’s why Hickey was so important and allowed Nic to play the whole game out and be damaging when he was on.

It seems like he’s really throwing his body around and he’s not worried about the knee?

We wouldn’t bring him back if he wasn’t ready to play; we’ve got a plan in place. There’s some mental scarring when you do two knees. Dealing with that has been a credit to Nic, that he can let himself go and still carry what he’s carrying, being 114kg or 155kg and in the most combative position on the ground and probably the best at it. He’s held up his end of the bargain.

The ruck duo, they seem to be going pretty well. How have you assessed them?

It’s early days. We’ve had two games in the wet. I don’t know how many stoppages there were tonight, but they have been competitive. I think our mids have had pretty good seasons, but tonight our backs stood up when they needed to.

Nic was offering you something up forward as well tonight?

He was. We haven’t had him forward too much, so to get him as a presence forward with JK going out of the side probably changed how we structured up a little bit. Brendon Ah Chee came in and I thought for a guy who got a really late call up he was pretty solid as well.

You sort of said before the start of the season you might get some fluctuations early because of the interruptions over the summer and the way your pre-season was compressed for a lot of the player. Do you feel like you’re in the 'go zone' and feel like you’ve got everyone back and in pretty good nick?

Not really. We’ve grinded away 11 good wins this year, every week has been different and the last two weeks have been wet-weather footy. It’s dry a lot over here and we get the Eskis out and dip the footies in water to make sure we get used to it. I think we’ve adapted as the season has gone on to different styles. The game has changed slightly in our eyes and we’ve tweaked a few things here and there. We’ll just take the wins. We’ve got 11 wins and that’s one step closer to making finals.

You’re a game clear in second spot now. That must be nice?

That is good and the team has strung together wins. It doesn’t matter how; get the win, look to improve and keep trying to get better. It doesn’t matter how you get them. I would take playing poorly and winning every day.

Has anything surprised you about the way Jarrod Cameron has come into the side and made a difference?

He’s a confident kid. He’s got to work on his celebrations I think after his goals. I did notice that just before. He is in the side to help provide a bit of pressure. He’s probably come in a bit earlier than we would have anticipated, but he’s bringing pressure and he’s finishing off his work. He probably had six or seven possessions and kicked four goals in a position that is really hard to master. It’s early days yet, let’s keep a lid on it. But he’s going well.

How do you keep a lid on it, because Geelong have lost, Collingwood are in a bit of a slump? You aren’t being talked about as a flag favourite when you really just have been creeping upwards on the ladder.

We’ve been going alright for a while, so I think our boys know how to handle expectations.

How much did last year’s experiences help with that? Dealing with expectations?

I think being part of our club there’s always expectations. It was (like that) the first day I got here, so there’s no doubt our players try and live by the high standards that the club has set in the past. That’s always a challenge, but the resilience that the players have brought the last two or three years, that’s probably been the pleasing thing for us as a coaching group. We don’t do a lot of change with strategy or tactics, we let our players work through it. But they’re at that mature age; they would have been a lot more mature today than Fremantle. They’ve been through some experiences where they know what to do at the right time and that takes time.