WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson isn’t expecting any tricks from his under-pressure Geelong counterpart Chris Scott in response to fierce criticism following the Cats’ loss to Collingwood.
Scott has been under the blowtorch for leaving ruckman Rhys Stanley out from a battle with All Australian big Brodie Grundy, and for Geelong’s sluggish ball movement.
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The minor premiers were once again jumped from the opening bounce in September, and have now lost 10 of their past 13 finals since the 2011 flag.
Geelong coach Chris Scott faced the media blowtorch on Tuesday morning.
But Simpson, who travelled to the MCG last Friday night, believed Geelong’s 10-point qualifying final defeat was far from a “disaster”.
Adamant Scott’s men finished on top of the ladder for a reason, the West Coast coach expected Geelong to stick with what has worked.
“There’s no tricks in finals, so no I’m not expecting any tricks,” Simpson said.
“They’re not going anywhere, Geelong.
“The way they play stands up. It might have been disappointing they didn’t get a win, but it was getting pretty close there in the last 10 minutes.
“Collingwood didn’t score in the last 60 minutes, they had four inside 50s in the last quarter.
“I don’t think it was a disaster.”
Despite overlooking Stanley, the Cats still dominated centre clearances (11-4), and superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield almost hauled them over the line late.
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“I know there’s been a lot of talk (about Stanley). We’re looking at the collective with Geelong,” Simpson said.
“Their body of work the last 12 months, they’re No.1 at all the areas we value, clearances, contested possessions, they’re the hardest team in the comp to score against.
“None of that has gone away, so we’re preparing for a pretty big battle.
“The reason they got to where they are and where we are is because you back your style in.
“I can’t see too much change, but we prepare for everything.”
After Mark Hutchings endured what Simpson called a “tough day” on Essendon half-back Adam Saad in the elimination final, the Eagles tagger will likely be gearing up for a job on Dangerfield or West Coast trade target Tim Kelly.
Hutchings held Kelly to 18 touches in round six in Geelong, when Dangerfield starred with 30 disposals and a goal in a 58-point demolition of the reigning premiers.
Hutchings tackles Tim Kelly during the round six clash in Geelong.
Hutchings (hamstring), skipper Shannon Hurn (hamstring) and star ruckman Nic Naitanui (ankle) got through unscathed against the Bombers and West Coast isn’t expected to make many changes.
Unlucky tall forward Oscar Allen is fit after knee soreness and defender Tom Cole also seems set to travel with the squad, before West Coast holds its final run at the MCG on Thursday.
Half-back Jackson Nelson trained fully on Monday after a head knock and will be available.
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Simpson said Naitanui had scope to ramp up his minutes after playing only 53 per cent game time but exerting a major influence against Essendon.
“We probably held back a little bit. He was one of the worries we had going into the game, how he was going to go,” Simpson said.
“We left it to the last minute for him to unleash, and that’s why we were so pleased with the fact he could flick a switch and get into that mode.”