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Longmuir to coach Eagles against Crows

Alex Malcolm  February 17, 2016 5:35 PM

AFL 2015 Training - West Coast Eagles 170715

Justin Longmuir will take the Eagles' reins from Adam Simpson against the Tigers

WEST Coast assistant coach Justin Longmuir will take the coaching reins for the Eagles' first NAB Challenge game on Sunday against Adelaide.

With senior coach Adam Simpson taking a back seat, Longmuir will coach against Simpson's former assistant Don Pyke, who is set to lead the Crows for the first time. 

The Eagles' general manager of football, Craig Vozzo, said it was a good opportunity for Longmuir to further develop his coaching skills.

Key Eagles mid out for two months

"It's a great education opportunity for Justin, we're really confident he can further evolve through this opportunity to coach the senior team on the weekend," Vozzo said.

"Adam obviously will still be there and will be in the background helping with a line, helping to oversee and to blow out any cobwebs in terms of the box and the bench on game day.

"But Justin will hold the reins in the lead up and on game day, so it's a great opportunity for him."

Eagles pair in doubt for NAB Challenge opener

Longmuir is the only member of the Eagles' current coaching staff that was part of John Worsfold's coaching panel.

He played 139 games with Fremantle between 1999 and 2007 before he was hired as a development coach at West Coast in 2010. He graduated to a role as an assistant in October 2011.

Longmuir has been the Eagles' forward line coach over the past few years and has worked closely with Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling.

Simpson has often spoken of his desire to develop his relatively young coaching group, despite heading into just his third season as a senior coach.

He has been visibly less involved at training this pre-season compared to his first two pre-seasons in charge. His assistant coaches have taken control of the majority of drills and Simpson has often walked off the ground to watch training from the grandstand at Domain Stadium.

The Eagles have added some experience to their coaching group this season with John Wardrop joining the club as head of game analysis and opposition strategy.

Wardrop was Hawthorn's opposition analyst between 2008 and 2015 when the Hawks won four premierships. Simpson had worked with Wardrop when he was an assistant coach with the Hawks between 2010 and 2013.

Eagles development coach Jaymie Graham has also taken on a new role this season as the full-time coach of WAFL team East Perth. The Royals are the Eagles' affiliate club and while Graham will remain as a development coach at the Eagles, his primary focus will be on coaching East Perth.

Ruck coach Dean Cox has taken over Pyke's former role as the stoppage coach.