Eagles rocking to united beat under new coach
Friday, February 07, 2014 - 11:23 AM

ADAM Simpson has wasted no time in impressing on West Coast the importance of unity and togetherness as they embark on the start of a new era.

Players and coaching staff alike say that the first-year coach has preached with his actions and his words his philosophy of making the Eagles a tight-knit group.

Brady Rawlings said that Simpson had placed his new group of assistant coaches in one open-plan office to bring them closer together.

Simpson believes he is just bringing his experiences to the job.

"I suppose it's who I am a little bit in terms of values," he said.

"I like a united group both in a coaching sense and with the players.

"A lot of the stuff I've learnt over the journey is from my experience as a player at North Melbourne and how close that group was.

"I suppose you can only be yourself and if that's part of my make up then I'm pretty happy about it."

What Simpson has not had to do is get his players to train hard. He says the work ethic of the Eagles players is something that has stood out to him since he's arrived.

"The way that they train, it's elite," he said.

"The standards they set with their intent at training is pretty high, really high, and the leaders in general are the ones who set the standard along with the some of the younger guys who have come to the club."

Simpson has made no secret of the fact that he is working on improving the Eagles' offensive ball movement.

But the former Hawthorn assistant coach is also keen to develop multi-positional players within his squad, which is part of the reason for the recruitment of Elliot Yeo and Xavier Ellis.

"One of the things we've been focusing on is the flexibility of our side," Simpson said.

"We'd like to think those guys could play a number of roles onball, as well as half-back, and wing, so we'll explore that over the next few weeks."

With the Eagles' opening NAB Challenge game against Fremantle looming, Simpson is yet to seriously consider the make-up of his side for that game or round one of the AFL Toyota premiership season against the Western Bulldogs.

However, he did concede he would like to give opportunities to young players who have impressed him in the pre-season.

"I'm excited with young (Simon) Tunbridge," Simpson said.

"He looks like he's a man already and I expect him to have some impact in the pre-season along with Dom Sheed. I wouldn't mind seeing what he can do as well.

"And then of course there's second- and third-year players we'll try out."

About the AFLCA
Round 18* Leaderboard
83 Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle)
76 Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
76 Josh Kennedy (Sydney)
72 Gary Ablett (Gold Coast)
60 Lance Franklin (Sydney)
59 Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)
57 Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
57 Joel Selwood (Geelong)
52 Tom Liberatore (Western Bulldogs)
50 Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
*This is a split round. Remaining games yet to be completed.