WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson refuses to call it a rebuild but admits the struggling Eagles are in for a period of pain as they transition their list.

The Eagles have been smashed over the past three weeks capped off by Friday night's 109-point shellacking from Richmond at Optus Stadium, their worst-ever loss at the venue breaking the record set by Sydney a fortnight ago.

The result leaves the 2018 premiers sitting last on the 2022 ladder with a 1-6 record and a woeful percentage of 55.3 per cent.

08:00 Mins
Published on

Highlights: West Coast v Richmond

The Eagles and Tigers clash in round seven

Published on

West Coast's 2022 campaign has been severely disrupted by injuries to key players while more than half of its squad has entered health and safety protocols during the season but that has coincided with the closure of the club’s premiership window, having missed the finals in 2021 after finishing sixth and seventh in 2019 and 2020 respectively. The situation has left the Eagles in a grim spot.

"We're on a path, there's going to be a little bit of pain," Simpson said.

"We're disappointed for our fans and members who came and watched us tonight.

"We have obviously deviated a fair bit from three years ago. No one wants to be in the situation that we're in right now but we are. This hasn’t been just tonight. It's been here for most of the year. Regardless of what's happened we are in a period of transition, no doubt."

EAGLES v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats

West Coast is the only AFL club who hasn’t had a top 10 draft pick in the past decade, and the club didn’t field one player under 21 on Friday night.

The Eagles have been forced to use 37 players from their squad this year plus five top-up players, meaning youngsters have been exposed, but Simpson explained they still needed to play veterans like Josh Kennedy – who was a lone hand up forward with four goals - and Shannon Hurn.

"We still need leadership," Simpson said.

"We still need ‘JK’ at the moment, we still need Shannon Hurn.

"There's plenty of room for our kids at the moment with what we've got. See what we can do to assess our list in the next 15 weeks. We'll get a pretty clear picture of where we're at by the end of the year."

11:27 Mins
Published on

Full post-match, R7: Eagles

Watch West Coast's press conference after round seven's match against Richmond

Published on

Simpson admitted there were no quick fixes for the Eagles who have been close to uncompetitive lately.

"We're clearly not at the level at the moment," Simpson said.

"There are so many areas to fix. It's going to take time, unfortunately tonight we butchered the ball. We've got a lot of work to do."

It doesn’t get any easier for the struggling Eagles, who take on the Brisbane Lions away next round, followed by reigning premiers Melbourne at Optus Stadium.

Simpson was hopeful Tom Barrass, who was a late withdrawal due to a hamstring injury, and Willie Rioli, who was subbed out at half-time, had only suffered corks and could be available to face the Lions. The Eagles coach was less bullish about midfielder Elliot Yeo who missed the game with concussion.

Meanwhile, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick downplayed the victory despite the margin, insisting the Eagles were severely depleted.

"You have to understand where our opponent is at," he said.

"They have had a horrible, horrible run.

"But it was good. We played a good brand of footy; looked like a Richmond game. We were pretty strong on all facets in the game."

06:34 Mins
Published on

Full post-match, R7: Tigers

Watch Richmond's press conference after round seven's match against West Coast

Published on

Dustin Martin's availability for Richmond's clash with Collingwood on Saturday at the MCG will be a hot topic this week, with Hardwick reiterating they needed to get some football work into him after five weeks away from the club.

"I'm hopeful," Hardwick said.

"He trained well today; he had a good session. Got through that well.

"We have to get some more skill sessions into him. We're hopeful he'll put his hand up to play. We have to do due diligence to make sure he is ready to go when he's needed."

Hardwick was thrilled with the move of Jayden Short into the midfield in Trent Cotchin's absence, gathering 31 possessions.

"(Assistant coach) Andrew McQualter suggested it last week," Hardwick said.

"It is something we'll continue to explore. He looked real good in there, comfortable. He has been a fantastic contributor down back, but if we can find a midfielder out of it, that's a big bonus."

Hardwick was confident Cotchin would be available to face the Pies along with veteran defender Robbie Tarrant, who was managed on a five-day break, and Marlion Pickett after a hamstring injury.

The Tigers did lose injury-prone Dion Prestia to a worrying lower leg issue, subbing him out at three-quarter time, although Hardwick wasn’t clear on the severity.

"Prestia has some Achilles and soleus tightness as well," he said.

"He reported it at half-time. He's so important we nearly subbed him then and there, but he wanted to give it one more go. It was just getting sorer."