Adam Simpson knows what to expect from Richmond, but says the challenge will be taking away the reigning premier's strengths and playing the West Coast way in Thursday night’s blockbuster.
It looms as a clash of styles between the Tigers' frenzy and Eagles' efficiency on neutral territory at Metricon Stadium, and both sides enter the round 14 match in rich veins of form.
West Coast has ridden an eight-game winning streak into fourth spot, and the Tigers are knocking on the top-four door after four wins from the past five matches.
If this year’s clash is anything like last season’s round 22 thriller at the MCG – when the Eagles burst out of the blocks but were run down in a six-point loss - then fans can anticipate an intense battle.
“I think there’s two sides who have got plenty of belief in the way they play going against each other this week,” Simpson told reporters from West Coast’s hub in Queensland.
“I don’t think anyone really looks at favouritism, you look at form and both clubs are in pretty good form.
“Richmond, it’s really starting to click for them. On the weekend they were plus 40-odd (42) for inside 50s against the Bombers.
“It doesn’t matter where or when or who plays against them they play the same way, which has stood up for a number of years now.
“We like to think we’ve worked towards the same position, obviously we haven’t had the same success, but both sides are in pretty good form.
“There’s no surprises about how the clubs play, it’s who comes out on top on the day.
“The challenge for both clubs and all clubs is can you play your own way and take away the strengths of the opposition, and that’s what both of us will be trying to do.
“We’re really aware of what Richmond can do and I’m sure they’re the same with us. It should be a good game.”
The Eagles have quickly settled into Sanctuary Cove after flying out on Tuesday and are eagerly anticipating a frenzied finish to the home and away campaign with four games across the next 15 days.
West Coast struggled earlier in the season after relocating to Queensland - losing to in-form sides Gold Coast, Brisbane and Port Adelaide – before resurrecting the campaign with victories over Sydney and Adelaide.
With the climax to 2020 fast approaching, Simpson said there was a positive mood amongst the travelling party.
“Obviously the performances we had early in the year weren’t great, we didn’t play well and we had to change a few things on and off the field,” he said.
“We probably went through six months of growth in three weeks, which was great in the long-term. I think that has really held us in good stead.
“I feel like that journey has been done, now we’re on a different path.
“Whether we play well or not, it won’t be reflected on being in Queensland.”
Simpson confirmed two changes to the side which outlasted Greater Western Sydney, with Mark Hutchings in for his first game of the season after injury issues.
The premiership onballer joins debutant Bailey Williams in the line-up, with Oscar Allen (hip) and defender Jackson Nelson (shoulder) sidelined.
“(Williams) has been playing at a standard that’s warranted selection for a number of weeks,” Simpson said.
“He’s very athletic, he’s around 200cm, forward-ruck, so he’s probably the modern-day tall. Really good at ground level as well, and he’s got a big leap – probably got Nic (Naitanui) covered, which is a big feat.
“Probably doesn’t have the same ruck craft just yet, he’s raw. He’s going to do some spectacular things and some things that will need a bit of work.
“He’s got some really good talent that needs to be harnessed.”
Big-bodied midfielder Jack Redden will miss a second match after abductor trouble, while Elliot Yeo (groin) is set to fly east next week after battling illness and hopes to be back before the end of the regular campaign.