West Coast coach Adam Simpson is adamant the club’s ghosts of the past won’t affect the current crop of players in their quest for AFL premiership success.
The Eagles’ toxic drug culture of a decade ago was brought up again this week in the lead-up to the club’s 10-year reunion of the 2006 premiership side.
The reunion has been planned for just after the club’s round-15 clash with Essendon, meaning the Eagles face several more weeks of talk and revelations about the doomed era.
The infamous punch-up between former teammates Andrew Embley and Daniel Chick – and Ben Cousins’ ongoing battle with drug addiction – were just some of the talking points to hit the headlines this week.
West Coast face a crunch clash with Adelaide in Perth on Saturday night, and Simpson is confident the chatter about the past won’t derail his side’s victory hopes – either this week or beyond.
“I know it’s our past, it’s our history. But it’s got no reference to today, and now, and what we’re doing this week,” Simpson said on Friday.
“If anything, it’s helped build a real strong culture that’s learnt from the past.
“And I’m sure this is not the only club that’s learned from that era.”
West Coast were forced to deal with the issue in the lead-up to last year’s grand final, when Chick told of widespread use of cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine during his time at the club.
The Eagles went on to lose the grand final to Hawthorn by 46 points, but Simpson insists Chick’s revelations didn’t distract the club that week.
“What happened grand final week didn’t have any effect on us – definitely not on our players or our coaches,” Simpson said.
“It’s unfortunate for something like that to come out when it did. But a lot of noise on the outside makes no difference to what we’re doing.”
Simpson, who won two flags with the Kangaroos, joked he would rather talk about the 1996 premiership reunion of North Melbourne.