West Coast coach Adam Simpson has declared his team are up for the fight during the AFL finals series, but says it would be ridiculous to look beyond the Bombers.
The Eagles’ premiership hopes took a major hit when they dropped to fifth spot following last week’s 38-point loss to Hawthorn, robbing them of the double finals chance.
It means West Coast will need to win three consecutive games on the road if they are to defend their flag.
But first they need to take care of business at home in an elimination final against Essendon at Optus Stadium on Thursday week.
West Coast will start as hot favourites in that match, but Simpson says his team can’t afford to look too far ahead.
“Unfortunately, when you don’t finish top four it’s do or die. So for us to project too far forward is ridiculous,” Simpson said.
“We’re full steam ahead on Essendon. We were in a better position last year with two home finals.
“Our backs are against the wall, but we’re up for the fight.”
West Coast have played in two grand finals and four finals series since 2015.
Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn said that experience would prove vital in their bid to defend the flag.
“Sometimes I think the unknown is what can get you undone” Hurn said.
“Sometimes playing in a couple of finals series certainly helps, because you know what it’s about and how to prepare.
“I think it does help about understanding about moments in a game, external pressures, how the game travels.”
West Coast are set to be boosted by the return of Nic Naitanui against the Bombers.
Naitanui hasn’t played since suffering a syndesmosis ankle injury in round 17, but the 29-year-old has progressed well at training and will be given another big test at Friday’s main session.
“He’s been running around pretty well. He’s still got his pace and his athletic ability, so it’s been going pretty well,” Hurn said.
“With Nic’s ruck and dominant ability, you can get a bit more aggressive in the midfield.”
Star Essendon defender Michael Hurley (shoulder) is in doubt for next week’s clash, but Dyson Heppell (foot), Orazio Fantasia (hip), Jake Stringer (soreness), and Cale Hooker (illness) are set to return.