Simpson ‘looks down’ but ready for fight, Blues in final, Dangerfield pushing for comeback
West Coast coach Adam Simpson is confident he wants to lead the club for the long term despite claims he appears jaded as the team undertakes a major rebuild.
The Eagles have had a horrific 1-6 start to the season, including a 109-point flogging at the hands of Richmond over the weekend and questions have been raised over whether Simpson, who guided them to their big eventual success in 2018, wants to oversee what could be a long and painful rebuilding process.
Simpson told Channel 7 in Perth that the Eagles “didn’t provide a real challenge” for the Tigers and had a lot of work to do to salvage their season.
“We’ve explored the whole roster so far this year and it will happen again this week with more injuries and more COID restrictions ahead of us.
“Rebuild, transition, call it what you want. We need to review our entire roster this year and make some changes.
“It’s a moment in time, it’s a really tough time, so we have to be resilient, but I’ll be here as long as the club want me here and I’m ready to fight.
“I haven’t read the news too much or watched too much TV so I can only get on with my job and do my best with what we have at the moment, that’s all I can do.”
They face a daunting trip to the Gabba on Saturday to take on the in-form Brisbane Lions and Simpson said defender Tom Barass (hamstring) should be OK to play but Elliot Yeo was doubtful as he recovers from a blow to the head while Jackson Nelson and Alex Witherden are said to be out after entering COVID-19 isolation.
AFL legend Kane Cornes on Channel 9’s Footy Classified said it would take “five or six years” to build up a stock of draft picks to be in contention for the title again.
“The question has to be: is Adam Simpson the guy? A terrific coach, a premier coach, he looks exhausted to me. He looks dejected, I’ve never seen him so angry when he faces the media.
“It’s the ninth year. I don’t think he’ll be here for the next five to six years to do what Fremantle has done and to be ready to get through this pain until you can attract top talent. in your club and then knock it down.”
The Blues do not yet dare to dream of finals
Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps is happy to enjoy the ride rather than focus on the destination to play AFL Finals football.
For the first time since Cripps’ debut in 2014, the Blues are in the top eight after seven rounds, picking up five wins to sit sixth. But the 27-year-old didn’t want to think about playing in September just yet.
“I don’t think that far yet,” the star midfielder said on Tuesday. “It’s the best place we’ve been to since I’ve been here and it’s been a lot of hard work for many years to get here, but we feel like we’re only scratching the surface of what we can do.
“We will find ways to keep improving and as we improve I think we will be in a stronger position in the second half of the year.”
In the final round, Carlton crushed hapless North Melbourne, in a game Cripps described as his “best four-quarter performance” of the year under new coach Michael Voss.
Cripps did not want to compare Voss and his former Blues coaches, but said the former Brisbane Lions champion had developed self-confidence among the players.
“His relationship with the players has been amazing, in terms of building their confidence and I think he gets the best out of a lot of guys,” he said.
Cripps underscored his status as a Brownlow Medal favorite with 35 eliminations, including 10 clearances, against the Kangaroos.
With a clash with Adelaide imminent on Sunday, he said the midfield group around him allows him to play his best football.
Dangerfield pushes for comeback
Patrick Dangerfield will plead for a return to the AFL this week as Geelong team-mate Max Holmes undergoes ankle surgery.
The impressive 19-year-old Holmes suffered a syndesmosis injury in the Cats’ loss to Fremantle in the seventh round.
“(Holmes) will undergo surgery which will rule him out in the short to medium term,” said Harry Taylor, Geelong’s head of medical and conditioning services.
“Max has completed a lot of work and we expect him to start his rehabilitation program before he can resume and be an influence in our AFL team.
“He is having surgery (Monday) afternoon and will start his rehabilitation program from there.”
Dangerfield missed the last two rounds with a stuffy calf but could return in Saturday’s clash with GWS.
The explosive midfielder-forward suffered a quadriceps injury earlier in the season, with the two issues combining to limit his ability to train so far.
“Pat has completed several solid conditioning sessions and his availability will be assessed later in the week,” Taylor said.
1 ruckman Rhys Stanley (ankle) and midfielder Sam Menegola (knee pain) are both chances to play against the Giants in Canberra.
Mengola underwent knee surgery in December and is yet to play a senior game this season.
Meanwhile, Fremantle have confirmed spearhead Matt Taberner will miss up to four weeks with the hamstring injury that ruled him out of their Geelong clash.
Dockers captain Nat Fyfe (fullback) is hoping to play his first game of the year before the goodbye, while ruckman Sean Darcy (concussion) could return against North Melbourne on Friday night.
Young defenders Hayden Young and Heath Chapman have both left COVID-19 protocols and could return for Game 8 at Optus Stadium.
The Demons trainer back at the helm
Melbourne feared its shares could be decimated last week as a wave of COVID-19 swept through the AFL club, coach Simon Goodwin said.
Goodwin was one of nine members of the Demons football department sidelined by health and safety protocols when the Premiers faced Hawthorn in the seventh inning.
Assistant coach Adem Yze took the reins in Goodwin’s absence, guiding the leaderboard to a 10-point win that maintained their perfect record for the season.
But it wasn’t all easy.
“On Wednesday, when we lost nine people from our department in one fell swoop, there was certainly an increased risk for the rest of the week,” Goodwin told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.
“There were alarm bells everywhere at that time.
“We had five staff and four players in a single day which had the potential to explode to another 10, maybe from a staff and player perspective who haven’t had COVID at this point. .
“And we’re lucky that we haven’t had too many reinfections at this point, so there are a number of people who still haven’t had it.
“There was this risk of it breaking out to a few others but they did a great job of containing it.
“We tweaked our program slightly and made sure we could mitigate the risk where possible.”
Stuck at home in isolation, Goodwin had a direct line to Demons football manager Alan Richardson in the coaches box during the Hawthorn game.
“I was probably a little more emotional sitting at home in the living room than I would be at the game because you’re not really in the moment,” Goodwin said.
“It was very quiet here, there was really no noise, so I was definitely able to analyze the game and provide feedback when needed, but it was a different experience.”
Goodwin has confirmed he will return to regular duty this week, with Melbourne due to face St Kilda on Sunday.