Eagles staying grounded in AFL: Simpson

West Coast coach Adam Simpson is refusing to raise the Eagles ambitions far above the waterline in 2015, despite heading into their AFL bye with one of their best wins of the season.

The Eagles returned to second spot on the AFL ladder by defeating Richmond at the MCG by 20 points on Friday night.

But the second-year coach maintains the goal is not to finish top two, top four, or even to play finals.

It’s 12 wins, which would be an improvement on their break-even season last year.

“I’ll start worrying about finals when we qualify,” he said.

“We won 11 games (last year) and our goal is to get past that.

“We’re still developing and we’ve still got some improvement to go.

“We’re going to get exposed at some stage and we’re going to learn some valuable lessons as we go but we just want to improve and keep developing our list.”

The win came on West Coast’s only scheduled trip to the MCG this season.

Not since 2007 have the Eagles beaten a side other than Melbourne at the grand final venue.

Winning at the MCG on the bigger stage of Friday night seemed to make the win all the sweeter.

“Friday night footy (at the MCG), I think Melbourne clubs probably take it for granted a little bit,” he said.

“We built ourselves up for this game and I’m really proud of the boys, the way they handled that last quarter.

“There wasn’t a lot of coaching going on up top, it was over to them.”

West Coast blanketed Richmond in the second half, keeping them to just two third-quarter goals.

Simpson paid tribute to Jeremy McGovern, who marshalled the Eagles defence and had several intercept marks after overcoming a corked thigh.

“He was really keen to play this week … it was touch and go there for a while,” he said.

“I think he’s going to be a big game player for us.

“But his body’s a bit banged up, he’s going to enjoy the break.”

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