West Coast coach Adam Simpson isn’t ready to give up on the AFL season after round one, even if their first-up loss to Western Bulldogs was full of disappointments.
The most obvious downside from the 10-point loss was the serious knee injury to key defender Mitch Brown, who went down in the first quarter.
But away from the defensive arc lay the Eagles chief concerns.
The Bulldogs won the clearance count, contested possessions, tackles and inside 50s.
And they absolutely out-ran West Coast, which had just one scoring shot in the last 20 minutes with the match on the line.
Simpson wasn’t blind to the shortcomings, saying they were “blown away” in key areas.
But he was keen to point out strong showings from two youngsters at either end of the ground.
“Jamie Cripps kicking five goals was a fantastic effort,” he said.
“I thought (Jeremy) McGovern, for a guy who’s played 13 games was a good effort.
“We’re still developing, we’re still building, at the moment we can’t do it for long enough.”
Simpson was matter of fact on Brown’s injury, which comes seven years after a reconstruction to the same knee.
“We think he’s done his ACL… we’re 99 per cent sure, it’s not good,” he said.
“Just as we were working through the (Mackenzie) situation, now we’ve got to work through Brownie.
“We’ve just got to find a way.
Defensive relief could come in the form of Will Schofield, who played in the WAFL, and the permanent stationing of McGovern down back.
So while there are more than a few areas of concern for Simpson, he’s not reaching for the panic button just yet.
“We’re still excited, there’s a lot of good stuff that we’re doing,” he said.
“I think we were a younger team tonight than the Bulldogs.
“We’re disappointed tonight but it’s round one, I won’t be going over the top.”