Eagles hold heads high despite defeat
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.”