West Coast coach Adam Simpson believes the Eagles’ nightmare start to the AFL season will benefit the club long-term.
The Eagles have slumped to 0-3 for the first time since their wooden spoon season of 2010 after being thrashed by Fremantle in Sunday’s western derby.
But the on-field results have just compounded the turmoil they have experienced off it.
West Coast have been dealing with a player availability crisis.
After being forced to bring in top-up players for their round-two game against North Melbourne, captain Luke Shuey, Willie Rioli, Liam Duggan, Bailey Williams were all in isolation for the clash with the Dockers.
Simpson admitted bringing back so many players after being in COVID-19 protocols was a tough balance.
“Quarantine for seven days and coming out and playing a game like ours is going to be difficult,” Simpson told Fox Footy.
“What we have learnt is connection is really important and the culture of your football club is critical and you don’t succeed without it.
“I’ve definitely seen it really thrive and also fracture before but it’s as tight as I’ve seen the playing group.
“If nothing, they get deeper connection and better sense of belonging and then that will set us up.
“It might not be in the next week or two but it will pay us back down the line.”
Shuey, Tom Barrass, Duggan and Rioli are all strong chances to return for Saturday’s clash with Collingwood at Marvel Stadium, while Elliot Yeo, Tim Kelly, Jamie Cripps and Oscar Allen aren’t far behind.