AFL: West Coast star Sam Mitchell is doing everything he can to be fit to take on Fremantle in what would be his first Western Derby.
WAYNE Carey has told West Coast coach Adam Simpson it’s time to face the ugly truth.
The Eagles play a winless Hawthorn on Sunday and — given their strong start to the year with three wins from four outings — are expected to heap more misery on their woefully underperforming opposition.
But there’s reason for Alastair Clarkson’s men to be hopeful of a first victory in 2017. The match is at the MCG and if there’s a question mark hovering over West Coast’s head it’s to do with its ability to win interstate, particularly in the Victorian capital.
The Eagles were tagged “flat-track bullies” after a surprise loss to Richmond at the MCG in round three. It’s not a new criticism the Perth-based team faces — its capacity to win on the road often comes under scrutiny — but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
After the Eagles’ loss to the Tigers, Simpson acknowledged his team’s form at the MCG was “terrible” but couldn’t understand how the club was guilty of being “flat-track bullies”.
“I do (get angry) mate, I do,” Simpson said on Fox Footy. “Sometimes I don’t understand what it actually means because our form at the moment doesn’t warrant flat-track bully status.
“I guess you’ve got to judge each year on its own … in round one (against North Melbourne) we were 15 to 20 points down and we ended up winning by seven or eight goals, so I’m not quite sure if it’s relevant this year.
“Every time we lose interstate or we lose in Melbourne we get that (flat-track bully status).”
But Carey says his former Kangaroos teammate has a problem he simply can’t ignore. “He (Simpson) gets very, very defensive when West Coast’s away record (comes up), he gets his back right up,” Carey said on Triple M’s Rush Hour. “Well it’s time to put up or shut up, I reckon.
“If they get beaten by Hawthorn on the weekend, you know what Simmo? No more of this, ‘Oh we’re not that bad away.’
“You know what Simmo? You’re crap away!
“If you get beaten well by the Hawks then I reckon they’ve got to really have a real good look because you can’t win a grand final unless you win on the MCG.”
Simpson refused to hit back at Carey and denied the MCG had become a hoodoo ground for the Eagles.
“He’s paid to make comments. I’m not going to get involved in Duck’s commentary,” Simpson said. “We haven’t got a leg to stand on when we lose, so all we can do is play at our best.
“I don’t think winning and losing is the issue for us when we travel. We’ve actually had some pretty good wins interstate in the last five times we’ve played.
“It’s just we haven’t played at our best consistently enough. “I’ll let Wayne…