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Simpson hoses down hype over Eagles' express start to season

Sean Cowan  March 23, 2014 11:38 PM

Simpson urges caution over express Eagles Watch West Coast coach Adam Simpson's post-match press conference
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Mark LeCras was back to his very best with five goals against the Bulldogs

There will be some hiccups on the way but tonight we were pretty happy
ROOKIE West Coast coach Adam Simpson has moved to hose down expectations surrounding his side after its barnstorming start to 2014.

After an unbeaten pre-season campaign, West Coast easily accounted for the Western Bulldogs through a mixture of hard-running and phenomenal pressure all over the field.

But Simpson warned that West Coast had about a dozen new players in 2014 and the squad had only had about five months to adjust to his new game style.

"We finished 13th last year, so we didn’t have a great year and we want to improve," he said.

"… To get close to our best 22 we are going to do some damage but we have got to get our best players on the park and there will be some hiccups on the way but tonight we were pretty happy."

Simpson, who kept alive West Coast's record of winning its first game for each new coach, said he was pleased that his side had won more contested ball than the Bulldogs.
 
"I don't think a team has won this week without winning that stat," he said.

"That was the brief to our players. We understood the Bulldogs have recently been good in that area. So that was the main aim, and then the game flowed from there."

He was also pleased that the Eagles' midfielders had hit the scoreboard after the side came under heavy criticism last year for being too reliant on its much-vaunted forward line for goals.

Simpson said Mark LeCras, who was best on ground with five goals, had been in good form and had looked sharp for the past month.

But he was also pleased with his ruck brigade, which had the edge over All Australian ruckman Will Minson.

"We understand Nic's not ready to take on the reins full-time in the middle and in the ruck," he said.

"I thought Cal Sinclair and Coxy handled themselves really well. Will (Minson) was fighting against all three at stages. We thought we might have just edged out that battle, and it helped us win the footy."

Luke Shuey was subbed out of the game at three-quarter time in a move which saw prized draft pick Dom Sheed take the field for the first time.

Simpson said Shuey had been sore during the week and was the last player picked for the game, but hadn't suffered any injury.