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Simpson turns down offer for Eagles coaching farewell

3 minute read

West Coast coach Adam Simpson won't coach in Sunday's clash with Brisbane, but will take part in a crowd acknowledgement before the game.

ADAM SIMPSON, coach of the Eagles addresses the team at quarter time during the 2018 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia.
ADAM SIMPSON, coach of the Eagles addresses the team at quarter time during the 2018 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia. Picture: Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images

Adam Simpson has opted against having a farewell game at West Coast, meaning interim coach Jarrad Schofield will step into the hot seat for Sunday's clash with Brisbane at Optus Stadium.

Simpson was informed on Monday night the Eagles wanted to have a fresh start with a new coach but was given the option of having a farewell game.

The 2018 premiership coach politely declined that offer on Wednesday.

Instead, Simpson will be acknowledged out on the field at Optus Stadium leading into the first bounce of Sunday's match, giving the crowd the opportunity to show their support to the man that led the club to premiership glory in 2018.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful support I have enjoyed from our members and fans over the last 11 years," Simpson said in a statement.

"They have been fantastic from the day I arrived and have stuck with us.

"It's easy to rock up every week when things are humming along, but through the challenging times over the last three years they continued to come and support us. They're the best."

Schofield has spent the past three years as an assistant to Simpson.

He also led WAFL club Subiaco to flags in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

Former Eagles ruckman Dean Cox is the early frontrunner to replace Simpson on a full-time basis, with Schofield, Ash Hansen and Jaymie Graham among the many others who could be in the mix. 

West Coast are in the midst of the biggest rebuild in the club's history.

They've hit the draft hard in recent seasons, bringing in the likes of Harley Reid, Reuben Ginbey, Brady Hough, Clay Hall, Elijah Hewett, Callum Jamieson, Noah Long and Jack Williams. 

Although the hardest part of the rebuild has already been done, there's still set to be more pain ahead before the Eagles become a finals force again.

"I feel like whoever the new coach is, the platform is there," Simpson said.

"It just evolves. You don't stay down for too long. 

"Whoever goes for this job - I think it's the best club in the league."

The arrival of No.1 draft pick Reid and the return to fitness and form of Elliot Yeo helped breathe new life into West Coast earlier this year.

Upset wins over Richmond, Fremantle and Melbourne had fans believing in an earlier-than-expected rise from the ashes.

But the harsh reality of West Coast's plight has been laid bare during the club's current six-match losing run, which started with a 99-point defeat to Adelaide and more recently involved limp losses to Hawthorn and Melbourne.

West Coast (3-13) are still in danger of collecting their second consecutive wooden spoon.

But after seeing Collingwood's dramatic resurgence under Craig McRae following the exit of coach Nathan Buckley in 2021, Simpson says there's no reason why West Coast's fortunes can't turn around quickly.

"When Bucks left, I'm sure they weren't talking about Collingwood the way they're talking about them now," Simpson said.

"It's a very tight competition. It's never as good or as bad as it seems.

"I've got optimism for our players and what they can do."

On the injury front, West Coast midfielder Hewett has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a new foot injury.

Defender Jeremy McGovern is out of Sunday's game due to a fractured rib and a punctured lung, but Matt Flynn (ankle) and Dom Sheed (hamstring) are chances to return.

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