Sizzling Eagles bracing for Pies clash

A top-four berth is tantalisingly close, but West Coast know the job isn’t done yet as they prepare for a blockbuster clash with Collingwood on Saturday.

The Eagles maintained their hold on second spot with a crushing 56-point AFL win over Adelaide in Perth on Saturday night.

Simpson was proud of how his players composed themselves in the wake of Phil Walsh’s death, with the Eagles unleashing an eight-goal blitz in the second quarter to stroll to the 22.15 (147) to 14.7 (91) win.

But attention has quickly turned to the Magpies, who remain in the top-four hunt despite three losses on the trot.

West Coast haven’t beaten Collingwood in Melbourne since 2003, but they are desperate to end that losing run when they face off at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The Eagles were tipped to struggle this year after losing key defenders Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown to knee injuries.

But the club’s midfield has gone from a weakness to a strength, helping transform the club into a premiership contender.

West Coast had 13 goalkickers against the Crows, with the vast majority of those players midfielders.

“Confidence is a strange thing isn’t it, because it’s the same group we had last year,” Simpson said.

“Everyone has evolved a little bit. I think Nic Naitanui is having a really good year.

“He really set the tone in the middle. So collectively they’re getting it done.

“I think Brady Rawlings is doing a really good job as our midfield coach, and Don Pyke’s our stoppage coach, so we’re working together.

“We’re happy with where they’re at but I think there’s still a bit of improvement to go.”

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