Fledgling Eagles aim to take down Hawks

West Coast coach Adam Simpson doesn’t think his recent stint at Hawthorn will be an advantage when the Eagles attempt to topple the defending premiers on Friday night.

Simpson spent four years as Alastair Clarkson’s assistant at the Hawks before winning the West Coast top job at the end of 2013.

Clarkson and Simpson will go head to head on Friday night when the Eagles host Hawthorn in a blockbuster qualifying final in Perth.

Simpson is well versed on how the Hawthorn juggernaut operates during the finals, but he’s not banking on it to have any significant impact this weekend.

“Obviously I was there for a while so I know some of the players and how they go about things,” Simpson said.

“I have taken a lot of things I learned at Hawthorn to West Coast. But whether it’s an advantage or not – I don’t think so.”

West Coast haven’t featured in the finals since 2012.

Star defender Jeremy McGovern, Jamie Cripps, Callum Sinclair, Dom Sheed, Mark Hutchings, Elliot Yeo and Brad Sheppard have never played finals football.

In contrast, Hawthorn’s finals-hardened outfit are gunning for their third straight premiership.

Simpson hopes his fledgling outfit will be able to stand up to the heat of finals football.

“It’s the unknown for us,” Simpson said.

“We haven’t set a limit of what we can achieve this year.

“We have a home final, so it’s the best position we can be in. We have given ourselves every opportunity.

“We’re probably the second youngest list in the top eight. So clearly there’s some evolution to come. I think we can get better.

“Hopefully it’s this week.”

The Eagles received a dose of good news when scans revealed Chris Masten’s hamstring injury wasn’t as bad as first thought.

But the speedy midfielder is almost certain to miss this week’s clash, opening the door for the likes of Scott Selwood, Jamie Bennell or Patrick McGinnity to return to the side.

Defender Will Schofield is a certainty to return after overcoming a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for the past three games.

Hawthorn will be boosted by the return of skipper Luke Hodge and Cyril Rioli, but wingman Isaac Smith will miss with a knee injury.

The Hawks have beaten West Coast in the past five battles between the sides.

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