Elliot Yeo has admitted it probably won’t hit him that Luke Shuey, Shannon Hurn and Nic Naitanui have gone until day one of preseason.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Yeo told Clairsy & Lisa on Tuesday, just days after West Coast lost by 45 points to Adelaide in an emotion-charged clash at Optus and saw three incredible club champions officially bow out.
“You’ll rock up day one of preseason and they’re not there and you look at their locker and they’re not around. It’s sad, the three big pillars [of the club],” he lamented.
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Lisa jumped in, saying “but guess who will be around?”
“Who’s that?” Yeo queried.
“Adam Simpson!” Lisa remarked, to which they all cheered.
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Adam Simpson will remain as West Coast coach after the embattled AFL club’s board “unanimously agreed” he should continue in the role.
There had been growing speculation that Simpson would be sacked, given the Eagles finished bottom this season and have won only five games in the past two years.
This year’s wooden spoon campaign was particularly bad, with the Eagles losing five matches by more than 100 points.
The worst was a 171-point defeat to Sydney in round 15.
But with Simpson contracted until the end of 2025 on a lucrative deal, it would have been a costly exercise for West Coast to cut ties with him this early.
Simpson’s $800,000-a-season deal coupled with the AFL’s luxury tax meant the Eagles faced a payout approaching $6 million if they decided to axe him.
West Coast’s board met on Monday, with the Eagles releasing a statement confirming Simpson would stay on as coach.
“At the meeting today the board unanimously agreed that Adam will remain as senior coach,” Eagles chairman Paul Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
“No one knows our playing list better than Adam and he has already steered us through the first phase of the rebuild.
“We are confident he can take us forward and take us where we aspire to be.
“Our season came to an end on Saturday night and we finished at the foot of the premiership table.
“That does not sit well with anyone at the club and we are all aware that there is much work to be done to return as a force in the competition.
“We will again go to the draft where we currently hold the first selection and we will look to bring in some elite youngsters with that and other selections.
“We are also open to bringing in players through the trade period who fit our needs and list profile.
“Adam is central to our development plans to assist the club’s rise up the ladder.”
West Coast’s board had steadfastly backed Simpson for most of the season, but the signs looked ominous when there was deathly silence following the 101-point loss to Fremantle in round 22.
A shock seven-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium a week later revived hopes Simpson would be kept on.
A fan-led petition to retain Simpson attracted more than 5200 signatures.
The 10-year coach received huge cheers whenever he was shown on the Optus Stadium big screen during last week’s 45-point loss to Adelaide.
Senior players such as Jeremy McGovern, Luke Shuey and Tim Kelly were vocal in their support of the coach, and Simpson received the good news on Monday that he would be retained.
Simpson led West Coast to the 2018 premiership, joining Mick Malthouse and John Worsfold as the only other coaches to have tasted flag success at the club.
The silver lining of West Coast’s wooden spoon is the No.1 pick at the national draft.