Adam Simpson and players leave the field after the round three match between Western Bulldogs and West Coast at Marvel Stadium, March 31, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

IF WEST Coast choose to delay any decision on Adam Simpson's coaching future until the end of the season, it needs to ensure the next seven weeks are still used to get all the information possible about a list that is set for more turnover.

The risk in a rebuild that has significant ground to cover is missing out on a key future player because their last chance to impress and change the course of their career is denied.

In the fallout to reports of player disharmony last week, Simpson made the somewhat surprising comment that there were 10 players who would not be on the list next season to partly explain why there would be discontent.

The Eagles have since clarified that the coach intended to reference there were 10 players out of contract, however, reassuring those fighting for deals that list spots could still be won in the final weeks of the season. 

It makes the questions that are still to be answered about the 2025 list the most pressing at West Coast between now and the final siren against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium in round 24.


As long as selection can still be steered towards the future, a decision on the club's 2018 premiership coach can be justified later.  

Among the Eagles who are out of contract, midfielders Zane Trew and Jai Culley deserve the chance to press their case for 2025 after limited opportunities this year.

Trew's chance came with less than a half against St Kilda in round 12 as the substitute, while Culley, who returned from an ACL injury in April, replaced him one week later for a single game.

Jai Culley looks dejected after West Coast's loss to North Melbourne at Optus Stadium in round 13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Draftee Clay Hall entered the season as a big-bodied young midfielder who looked ready for senior exposure. He should be given a taste of what's required that he can take into his first off-season. 

Key defender Harry Edwards should now get the chance to add to his five games across the past two seasons, but it has admittedly been tough to find a spot for him behind elite pair Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass.

There is also value in learning more about young forward/ruck Jack Williams at the top level in the final seven rounds given Matt Fynn and Bailey Williams both play their best football as the No.1 big man. 

Chris Burgess and Jack Williams contest the ruck during the match between Kuwarna (Adelaide) and Waalitj Marawar (West Coast) in round 11, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Simpson and the Eagles have made decisions this season that have prioritised the future, and it is easy to shout "play the kids" from the sidelines. Most notably, veteran wingman Andrew Gaff has played just three games despite impressive WAFL form as Campbell Chesser develops on a wing. 

The coach has also indicated as recently as Saturday that the final part of the season would be viewed as an opportunity to learn more about certain players.

"There's just play the young players and just get them in there and see how they go, which we've done for a large part. But they've got to have a bit of form as well," Simpson said. 

"We need to make a couple of changes and we'll look at that as the week goes through. Some will be forced, and some will be a bit more about our direction. 

"This is probably a period where we explore different avenues, different positions and different players. We'll keep looking at that and try and get the mix right." 


Hawthorn All-Australian contender Dylan Moore is the most obvious recent example of a player who saved his career with a late season opportunity, winning 25 disposals and kicking a goal in the last round of 2020 to earn a rookie lifeline when delisting looked likely. 

Experimenting with Liam Jones as a backman saved the 194-game defender's career when he was with Carlton, while Ethan Hughes has carved out a 10-year career at Fremantle since Ross Lyon rested 11 players in the final round of 2015 and was impressed by the debutant.

Only time will tell if one of the Eagles' uncontracted players can take a late chance and go on to play a valuable role in the rebuild, but now is the time to give them the opportunity.