WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson says the resolve of his team is as good as it has been after a spirited comeback against back-to-back premier Richmond that kept the team's top four hopes alive.
And the coach has praised the goalkicking preparation and execution of his forwards after a set shot masterclass in the final 10 minutes that saw the Eagles pile on four unanswered goals.
West Coast heads to the bye 8-5 and equal on wins with fourth-placed Brisbane, who have a game in hand, and will be bolstered by several returning stars when they emerge to take on the Western Bulldogs in round 15.
EAGLES v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats
Simpson said Sunday night's clash felt like a "heavyweight battle" between the two most recent premiers and the Eagles had lifted when it mattered to secure a crucial win.
"The collective resolve after losing a couple in a row, I feel like it’s as good as it’s ever been," Simpson said.
"We’ve played with a lot of spirit the last couple of weeks and our young kids have stood up as much as our leaders.
"It was a great response from our players in the last 10 minutes. We hung in there.
"Probably Richmond overall played a bit better than us for the four quarters, but when it mattered most I thought we made the most of it."
Forwards Jake Waterman, Jamie Cripps and Oscar Allen all nailed set shot in the final 10 minutes to pull back a 22-point deficit, before champion forward Josh Kennedy won the match with his set shot on the boundary.
The Eagles are ranked No.1 in the AFL for scoring shot efficiency and Simpson said the idea that goalkicking practice needed to be limited by sports scientists was outdated.
"The old school people are saying sports science. That's rubbish. We can kick as much as we want and have for years, so don't let anyone say that," the coach said.
"Our boys can have as many kicks as they like and that's been for eight years, so don't buy into that stuff.
"We train it a lot. We try and get shots from good spots, and then we've got good players."
The Eagles will likely regain captain Luke Shuey for the round 15 clash against the Western Bulldogs, while Brad Sheppard (concussion) and Jack Petruccelle (hamstring) should also be available.
Star midfielder Tim Kelly (knee) and gun defender Jeremy McGovern (knee) will also be closing in on their returns after the week off.
Simpson said the ability of young players Luke Edwards, Luke Foley and Harry Edwards to stand up in a big game had been critical.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said a lack of composure at critical times was the difference in the match, particularly when going forward.
"We had opportunities where we could have scored but we went too quick in forward 50," he said.
"We spoke about it all day and we couldn't adhere to the plan. We had 38 giveaway turnovers, which hurt us all night as well."
"Their goal kicking is amazing and always has been."
Hardwick said the team's preparation for Sunday's clash, flying back to their Sydney base after the Dreamtime win last Saturday night and then back to Perth this weekend, had been positive.
Having missed a chance to close in on the top four, he described the 7-6 Tigers' season as "spluttering".
"We're in the hunt. We're like a lot of sides, spluttering along at the moment," he said.
"We get some players back, then we lose some players. There are sides, I wouldn't say having a charmed run, but they are coping well with their injuries.
"We probably haven't hit that run of form as yet. Hopefully it comes after bye."
Hardwick said he hoped young forward Callum Coleman-Jones would be able remain in the team when spearhead Tom Lynch returns after the bye, impressing again with two goals.
"We just have to manage it the best we can," he said.
"We'd love to keep them all and would love to reward them and keep them in the side. We just need change something to make sure it works."
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