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Simpson rallies troops as fans warned over scalpers

Adam Simpson addresses his team during a training session on Monday - AFL,West Coast Eagles,Adam Simpson
Adam Simpson addresses his team during a training session on Monday

WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson isn't bothered if Melbourne fans in Victoria have been buying preliminary final tickets only to leave empty seats at Optus Stadium, as the WA government warns supporters to be wary of scalpers.  

Fans flooded Ticketmaster's website on Monday to secure their spot at Perth's 60,000-seat venue, with only scattered single seats available by mid-afternoon.

A state-record sporting crowd of 59,585 supporters watched West Coast's epic 16-point qualifying final triumph over Collingwood, with the vast majority willing the Eagles over the line in a frenetic fourth quarter. 

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A similar number of fans are expected to pack Optus Stadium for Saturday's 1.20pm (AWST) bouncedown.

But with airfares from Melbourne to Perth rising steeply there have been suggestions Demons supporters might purchase tickets and not attend, to help negate West Coast's home ground advantage.

"They sound like they're a bit worried about the crowd, doesn't it?" Simpson joked on Channel Seven on Monday night.

"That's a bit of by-play, I'm not buying into any of that really.

"We love our crowd, we love our support and we thought it really helped us last week getting over the line against the Pies."

 

With prelim tickets hot property, the WA government has issued a warning not to buy from scalpers on sites such as Viagogo or Gumtree after recent cases of patrons being refused entry for invalid tickets.

"The only safe way to purchase tickets is to buy direct from the authorised primary seller – in this case, Ticketmaster," sport and recreation minister Mick Murray said.

"Online resellers use tricky tactics, including making their websites appear as if they are authorised sellers, and paying to appear at the top in online search engine results.

"We don't want members of the public paying way above fair price only to not even gain entry to the event."

Nearly 56,000 people watched an under-pressure Melbourne raid the Eagles' fortress in round 22, when Simon Goodwin's outfit booked a return to finals for the first time in 12 years. 

That victory fueled the Demons' belief, and after overcoming Hawthorn in a semi-final they have now beaten four top-eight sides in a row to be one win away from a fairytale Grand Final appearance for the first time since 2000. 

"They were (impressive against Hawthorn). They played their style and their brand that has been holding up for the last month, in particular," Simpson said.

"It's been a pretty combative style of football that's holding up in big games, but we like to think we've got the same type of attitude.

"It will be a real test of will I think on the weekend."

 

The Eagles have won their three previous home preliminary finals in club history, and are slight favourites to meet either Richmond or Collingwood in the Grand Final.

"Obviously, to say we were going to do this at the start of the year was a bit of a stretch, but really pleased and proud of our players to get to this position," Simpson said.

"These don't come along too often, so we need to take our chances this week."

Simpson was tight-lipped about who would replace important defender Brad Sheppard (hamstring), although veteran Will Schofield is tipped to take his spot.

The Eagles won't have to worry about star midfielder Luke Shuey missing the preliminary final, with his partner Dani giving birth to their son Oliver late last week.