Grieving Eagles vow to bounce back in AFL

West Coast coach Adam Simpson says the AFL club is still in grieving mode following Saturday’s 46-point grand final hammering at the hands of Hawthorn.

Around 1000 fans turned up to Domain Stadium on Sunday to welcome West Coast back home.

Eagles players were in a sombre mood as the reality of their grand final loss sank in, but Simpson hoped the pain would help drive the group to even greater heights next year.

“There’s still a sour taste in our mouths,” Simpson told the crowd.

“We’re in the grieving process at the moment, and I’m sure you are too.

“But it’s a new era for us, and we’re only at the start of it.

“We’re hungry and can’t wait for next year.”

Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn admitted the loss was hard to swallow, saying the players were still hurting and coming to grips with what happened.

“People will handle it differently,” Hurn said.

“Some people won’t want to think about it. Some people will think about it for a while.

“As long as it drives you to become a better player and a better club, that’s the biggest thing.

“It’s disappointing what we did.

“But I don’t think we were overawed, over-anxious or over-nervous.

“I thought we were ready to go. We just didn’t make the most of our opportunities.”

West Coast were made to pay for a series of fumbles, wayward goalkicking and poor decision making.

Forward Jack Darling dropped a crucial mark in the third quarter, while midfielder Luke Shuey fluffed some key opportunities that could have led to goals.

Hurn said the players had rallied around each other to ensure no one was too down on themselves.

And he said there was a deep hunger within the group to go all the way next year.

“There’s been no pact. But players deep down inside, they know we want to achieve something as a group,” Hurn said.

“The biggest message is just making sure the players keep working hard and keep doing the basics well.

“If we can do that, it will put us in good stead. Because if you just think it’s going to happen, sides catch you.

“So you always need to keep improving.”

West Coast are likely to lose vice-captain Scott Selwood, an emergency for the grand final, who is tipped to join his brother Joel at Geelong next season.

But the return of Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown from knee injuries will help bolster West Coast’s defence.

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