West Coast coach Adam Simpson has warned that the “squeeze is coming” for his team after they had surged into the top four after an epic come back against Geelong.
The Eagles won 11.7 (73) to 10.4 (64), fuelled by Nic Naitanui’s ruck dominance and four goals to Josh Kennedy, including the winner a minute from the end.
The Eagles have an eight-day break before their next match against Carlton while Geelong flies out and faces a four day turn around before their match against North Melbourne in Queensland on Wednesday but Simpson said his team’s turn to taste a tough stretch of fixtures was on its way.
“The squeeze is coming for us. It is just not now,” he said. “Every team is going through extraordinary different preparation. We respect that. We will get our turn again I would say by the end of the season but at the moment we have got a pretty consistent look.”
Naitanui became utterly dominant in the ruck as the match wore on against makeshift Cats ruckmen.
“Nic was special. We all know that don’t we,” Simpson said. “Geelong missing a ruckman helps us. Nic’s form all year has been first class. He had a pretty good look at a pre-season and with the disruptions, we went through he has got better every week. He delivered tonight but he has been delivering for a long time.”
“We are lucky we have got him because he is hard to stop. I can’t speak highly enough of Nic and what he does for our club and the community. I am not surprised.”
Simpson said it took the Eagles some time to come to grips with Geelong’s crisp possession game. The Cats led by as much as 22 points in the second quarter and the Eagles didn’t hit the front until 12 minutes into the final term.
“We really, really rate Geelong. The way they play has troubled us in the past. We knew what kind of game was in front of us. Just dealing with it and the way they played was always going to be a challenge.”
“As the game went on we got more understanding of what we needed to do and by the end of it I think we owned field position in the second half and we just couldn’t convert because they are too good defensively.”
First gamer Harry Edwards suffered a second-quarter concussion. At this stage, he appeared the only West Coast casualty.
“I don’t think he remembers much about his first game but he looked like he was okay (at AFL level) as well,” Simpson said.
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