Simpson thrilled with form turnaround
Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 10:55 AM

 - from

ADAM Simpson accepts the microscope will still be on West Coast despite a crucial 13-point win over Geelong, but the Eagles coach was thrilled to see promising signs of a turnaround in his side's form on Thursday night.

The Eagles tinkered with their playing style over the bye and produced a brand of football more reminiscent of their performances of the past two seasons than anything they produced in the first 11 rounds this year.

West Coast was ferocious around the contest, applied immense tackling pressure, fed a hungry forward line and locked the ball in its attacking half in a superb opening half.

The Eagles led by six goals at the long change and - while Geelong fought back late had enough answers to see-off their finals rivals and snap a three-game losing streak.

"We brought the pressure we were hoping to bring, it was obviously a fair bit of improvement from the previous game (against Gold Coast)," Simpson said.

"We've been working really hard over the break trying to work on those areas of the game, inside 50s, time in forward half, tackles in forward half, pressure all those sorts of things.

"Against a team that's one of the best at that I thought we held our own and our tackle count was up (94-73) and it felt like it was the collective as well." 

The Eagles had been under the blowtorch after slipping outside the top eight and Simpson isn't getting carried away with one performance.

"We'd lost three in a row, so the pressure comes. It just shifts from club to club and it was our turn," he said.

"(The win) doesn't relieve any massive pressure because the expectations for us is high.

"I think our supporters and members would appreciate (us) playing that way. 

"We've still got a lot of work to do, we're not quite where we want to be yet." 

Simpson liked Sam Mitchell's aggression in a running battle with Joel Selwood and praised Mark Hutchings' tagging job keeping the Cats skipper relatively quiet.

"We're really proud of Hutch and what he did. To keep him to 19 possessions and I think Selwood had seven out of the middle so he played his role," Simpson said.

"We've been going to it (tagging) a lot recently mid-game on the opposition's best players, but we started with it tonight and I thought it worked for us in the end."

Lewis Jetta was also outstanding for the Eagles with his damaging foot skills in slippery conditions, with the speedster producing his third impressive display since being recalled from East Perth.

"He knows what he needs to do to play good football and the game did change a little bit over the last three or four years and I reckon he's adapted pretty well over the last six or seven weeks," Simpson said.

"His ball-use in the front half, he only needs three or four kicks. What we've got with our inside mids, he plays an important role for us."

Simpson didn't believe there was much in Luke Shuey's high bump on Patrick Dangerfield in the first quarter and was confident his star onballer would be available to face Melbourne next round.

About the AFLCA
Round Five Leaderboard
31 Steele Sidebottom (Coll)
28 Nat Fyfe (Frem)
26 Tom Mitchell (Haw)
25 Brodie Grundy Coll)
24 Rory Laird (Adel)
24 Dustin Martin (Rich)
23 Ben Brown North (Melb)
20 Patrick Cripps (Carl)
19 Max Gawn (Melb)
18 Stephen Coniglio (GWS)
18 Trent Cotchin (Rich)
18 Lance Franklin (Syd)