With the ‘Weagles Web’ being the talk of the AFL last season, West Coast coach Adam Simpson has been rewarded for his tactical genius with a new three-year contract extension.
Simpson was already contracted to the Eagles until the end of next season, but his new deal ties him to the club until the end of 2019.
The former North Melbourne skipper helped to mastermind West Coast’s rise into a premiership force in 2015, with the club defying a host of key injuries to reach the grand final.
Despite being put to the sword by Hawthorn in the premiership decider, the Eagles’ hierarchy are convinced Simpson has what it takes to take the team one step further in coming years.
Simpson’s tactical ability was put to the test in the wake of losing key defenders Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown to knee reconstructions early last year.
Forced to utilise an undersized backline, Simpson developed a spatial defensive system that was subsequently likened to a spider’s web.
The zoning system guarded space and invited risky kicks from the opposition, with the web of Eagles players closing in once this occurred.
The web fell apart in the grand final after a host of Eagles players suffered stage fright on the biggest stage.
But with the post-season arrivals of Sydney speedster Lewis Jetta and Brisbane midfielder Jack Redden bolstering the squad, West Coast will start 2016 as one of the premiership favourites.
“We fully understand the challenges ahead as we strive for sustained success, and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and do the work required,” said Simpson, who has a winning record of 62 per cent from his 47 matches at the helm.
Eagles chairman Alan Cransberg believes Simpson has what it takes to lead the club to sustained success.
“Adam and the playing group have made strong strides towards that target in the last two years, but we are certainly not satisfied simply by playing in a grand final,” Cransberg said.
“We want to become a competition benchmark and we believe we are on track.”