West Coast are tapping into the magic of the Olympics as they attempt to navigate their way through a daunting end to the home-and-away AFL season.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson used the Australian women’s 4x100m freestyle win at the Rio Olympics to inspire his team to victory in Sunday’s western derby against Fremantle.
Bronte and Cate Campbell produced powerful third and fourth legs to lift Australia to gold in that relay, and West Coast were responsible for a dominant second-half display to turn a 15-point deficit into a 46-point win.
The Olympics have come at a perfect time for the Eagles, who are in desperate need of some inspiration after producing patchy form for most of the season.
With just three rounds remaining, West Coast sit in sixth spot with a 13-6 record.
But with games against premiership hopefuls Greater Western Sydney (away), Hawthorn (home), and Adelaide (away) to come, the Eagles face an uphill battle to snare a top-four berth.
Eagles defender Will Schofield has embraced the Olympic spirit, getting up at 4am on Monday to catch up on all the action.
Schofield said it was refreshing when Simpson used the Olympics as inspiration before the derby, and said he hopes there’ll be more to come.
“It’s great watching the Olympics, and seeing how they go about it,” Schofield said.
“They probably put in a lot more work than we do.
“They’ve got one chance in four years. We’re lucky, we get to back up next week.
“Footy’s an interesting game. It’s a long year, and to be able to find different focus points other than the normal ones we have every week, it was a good little challenge for us.”
Schofield said the Eagles were working hard to address their inconsistent form.
“You look at Hawthorn – they play their best footy in September,” Schofield said.
“We’ll be trying to do that.
“We probably haven’t been in the best form in the last couple of months, but we’ve won (six) out of the last (seven).
“So to be able to do that and get the wins is good for us, and we’ll be working on our form.”
Eagles forward Josh Kennedy was the hero of Sunday’s derby, booting seven goals to win the Ross Glendinning medal.
The haul put Kennedy six goals ahead of Sydney’s Lance Franklin and Gold Coast’s Tom Lynch in the race for the Coleman medal.