Resilience key in derby win, says Eagles coach
WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson has praised the resilience of his group, but says it's too early to get caught up in the growing hype surrounding the AFL club.
The Eagles improved their record to 5-1 after beating Fremantle by eight points in an entertaining western derby at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
West Coast were widely tipped to miss the finals this season, with Carlton great Robert Walls even predicting a wooden spoon for the club.
But the Eagles are now in a solid position to not only lock away a finals berth, but also push for a top-four finish.
Simpson was proud of the way his team overcame an early 20-point deficit to beat the Dockers.
The second half was an arm wrestle, and West Coast managed to keep Fremantle at arm's length when the game was at its hottest.
"I think we are getting a bit more resilient with the way we are going about it," Simpson said.
"There were stages last year when we might not have won last week (against Carlton); when we might have got rolled (against Fremantle).
"I think the players have worked really hard on staying on task all day and our good players are playing well.
"What's the secret sauce to having a good culture, good spirit and a bit of a brotherhood? No one really knows.
"But those guys are really in tune with each other at the moment."
West Coast host Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium next Saturday, before taking on GWS (away), Richmond (home), and Hawthorn (away) in what shapes as a tricky part of their season.
Simpson said he will get a better gauge of where his team sits after that.
Defender Lewis Jetta is in doubt for the Port Adelaide clash after tweaking his calf against the Dockers.
But Simpson scoffed at concerns over any of his other players who have been sore recently.
In the lead-up to Sunday's derby, a report emerged that star players like Nic Naitanui, Josh Kennedy, Elliot Yeo, Luke Shuey, and Dom Sheed were in doubt.
All five played in the derby.
"Just because someone is watching training (from) behind the grill, doesn't mean we've got all these guys that are just hanging on with injuries," Simpson said.
"The boys are ok. They are pulling up a little bit sore from playing on this ground, but they are getting better every week."