West Coast fans will get a “glimpse of the future” when the Eagles clash with Essendon at the Gabba tomorrow night, according to Adam Simpson.
With the club’s all-time leading goal-kicker Josh Kennedy ruled out due to concussion and premiership forward Jamie Cripps unavailable after returning home to welcome his first child into the world, West Coast is expected to name a youthful forward line to take on the ascending Bombers.
The senior coach said Jack Darling, who last week joined the 400 goals club, would likely spearhead an attacking unit featuring emerging talents Oscar Allen and Bailey Williams.
“It’ll be a glimpse of the future,” Simpson said.
“As much as we love Josh (Kennedy) and want him to play forever, when the time comes hopefully we’ve got some players that can step in and fill the void, albeit it will be a huge one to fill.
“There’s be a little glimpse of the future, which I think our fans love to see.
“We like getting some kids in our side and hopefully we can still win while we do that.”
“Josh is really good. He passed the cog state, but he won’t play.”— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) August 31, 2020
Adam Simpson on Josh Kennedy pic.twitter.com/WmTkLNoCTa
As for who might line up in West Coast’s half forward line, Simpson suggested the media’s guess was as good as his.
He inferred the Eagles match committee would have to get creative given the club’s raft of unavailable players, including Jake Waterman, Jack Petruccelle, Jamaine Jones, Daniel Venables and Willie Rioli.
“Our high half forward line is a different kettle of fish,” Simpson admitted.
“I’m not sure what you’re going to see there, but you’ll see an eclectic group who are really keen to put some pressure on and hopefully kick some goals.
“We might have to play a few players in different positions this week. We’ll still have a strong side and we’re confident we can perform at our best.”
While there’s obviously a bit to play out ahead of the club’s team announcement at 4.20pm AWST today, Simpson said the selected 22 would have to bring their A-games to rival the Bombers tomorrow night.
He suggested West Coast’s midfield and defensive unit would have to be at their best to stifle Essendon’s explosive ‘run and gun’ style of play.
“They (possess) a really attacking, aggressive ball movement style that’s hard to stop,” Simpson said.
“The overlap handball they get and the run and carry they get off their back half is dangerous.
“And they’ve got talent. Their names on paper, it’s as good as anyone’s.
“There are a few things there that we’ve got to take care of
“There’s a lot to play for this week. I think we all know where the season is heading. It’s really tight and this game is huge for us.”