Ea­gles hold heads high de­spite de­feat

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - ROB FORSAITH

THE losers’ rooms can be an emo­tional place af­ter an AFL fi­nal, es­pe­cially when you are farewelling some 901 games worth of ex­pe­ri­ence.

West Coast’s Matt Prid­dis, Sam Mitchell and Drew Petrie ended their ca­reers on a low point at Spot­less Sta­dium, where the vis­i­tors suf­fered a 67-point loss to Greater West- ern Syd­ney. “They were emo­tional. We all were,” Ea­gles coach Adam Simp­son said.

“We’re go­ing to lose three very good in­di­vid­u­als – very good peo­ple, let alone foot­ballers. We’ll get Sam now as a coach, which is great for us, and we don’t think Drew is go­ing to be too far away …”

Mitchell will slip into the Ea­gles’ coaches box in 2018, while Petrie is ex­pected to re­main in Perth. Simp­son laughed off the lat­est ques­tion about the prospect of 2014 Brown­low medal­list Prid­dis hav­ing any sec­ond thoughts about re­tire­ment.

“Un­less he comes and talks to me, I think we’ll as­sume he has re­tired,” he said.

It may also have been vet­eran for­ward Mark LeCras’ fi­nal game.

“That’s a list man­age­ment de­ci­sion we’ll work through in the next few weeks Now is not the time to talk about list man­age­ment,” Simp­son said.

Prid­dis was one of the Ea­gles’ best in their semi-fi­nal loss, tal­ly­ing 23 con­tested pos­ses­sions. He be­came the first player to sign off with 30 dis­pos­als in a fi­nal, also lift­ing his AFL-record ca­reer tackle tally to 1629.

“He left it all out there. They all did, we can’t ask for any more from those guys,” Simp­son said.

He re­vealed ruck­man Nic Nai­tanui, on a come­back from a knee re­con­struc­tion, was not med­i­cally cleared to re­turn.

“We’ll get a pretty good re­cruit back next year in Nai­tanui, and Scott Lycett goes OK as well. But we need to get bet­ter across the board ... we’re aware of some of our flaws.”

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