West Coast’s strength at home and weakness away from Fortress Subiaco this season has seen them labelled ‘flat track bullies’ and coach Adam Simpson finds it hard to argue against the unflattering tag.
All four of the seventh-placed Eagles’ losses this season have come on the road.
The Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Sydney and Geelong – all currently inside the top five on the ladder – have beaten West Coast away from their Subiaco stronghold, with their only road win coming against Port Adelaide, who sat outside the eight at the time.
“A part of me thinks it’s a throwaway line but it is what it is,” Simpson told Fox Footy in response to the flat track bully label.
“If what it actually means is that we win well at home, I don’t mind that. If we beat up on teams that we’re meant to beat up on then I don’t mind that either.
“But if it means that when the pressure comes against a top-four side and we’re not quite there yet then that’s true as well.
“I would have thought that over the last few years we’ve had some really good wins against some top-quality sides but at the moment the facts are the facts.”
All of the Eagles’ wins at home have come against teams outside the eight after 11 rounds.
West Coast surprised many last year when they made the grand final after losing key defenders Mitch Brown and Eric Mackenzie early on.
Simpson suspects the Eagles are being harshly judged after exceeding expectations last season.
“The expectation this year is a lot different to last year,” he said.
“We were probably undervalued last year … the bottom two or three we were probably picked as and this year it’s premiership favourites.
“So the flip in expectations … it’s a good space – we want to be in that space – but I think the reality is that we’re fighting for that top eight spot and there are teams that are in better form than us at the moment.
“We’ve got some work to do – there’s no doubt about that. Take away the home or away (debate) … we’re not quite performing against the top four sides at the moment.
“We’re probably where we’re meant to be on the ladder in the bottom half of the eight.”