Sports

Adam Simpson defends inclusion of veteran West Coast stars despite heavy loss to Sydney


West Coast coach Adam Simpson has defended his decision to include veteran trio Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly and Elliot Yeo for his side’s game against Sydney, despite the Eagles’ heavy loss.

The veteran-laden Eagles side, which also hosted scoring man Jamie Cripps, were held scoreless in a first quarter at home for the first time in 430 games in Perth as the Swans ran out the winners by 63 points.

Shuey, Kelly and Yeo all looked underrated, as Simpson made major changes to a team that recorded a spirited victory over Collingwood in the fourth round.

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While the premiership-winning coach admitted there was no excuse, he defended his decision to bring all his star men back at once.

“Our captain has returned, we have Elliot Yeo, two-time All-Australian and Tim Kelly’s best and fairest winner, and Jamie Cripps,” Simpson said.

“So they are very good players. But the synergy is not there obviously. But that’s not a reason for the first quarter in particular.

“So we make no excuses. But the synergy is going to be tough. It’s been a challenge all year.

“Three players played every game (Shannon Hurn, Like Foley and Patrick Naish).

“I think we can come to terms with what happened and understand that we have a lot of work to do on and off the pitch, with the way we train, our fitness and our synergy.

“That’s behind tonight’s disappointment.”

The Eagles currently sit 16th in the table with just four premiership points and a paltry 69.2% percentage after five games this season.

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