West Coast coach Adam Simpson has urged the Eagles to create their own history by bouncing back up the ladder after the worst AFL season in the club’s proud history.
The Eagles’ disastrous campaign came to an end in Geelong on Saturday as they were blown away by the premiership favourites by 85 points.
West Coast, who were battered by injuries and COVID-19 issues all season, have finished with a club-worst 2-20 record to sit 17th on the ladder, only ahead of North Melbourne on percentage.
The Eagles only wooden spoon came in 2010 when they went 4-18 and the AFL had 16 teams, before the entry of Gold Coast and GWS.
Under John Worsfold, West Coast powered back up the ladder in 2011 to reach a preliminary final.
Simpson was hesitant to make any bold predictions for 2023 but knows the Eagles are capable of much better.
“We’ve been hit with some hurdles this year,” he said.
“It has been a challenge to keep the group together and stay together … internally we’re on the right path.
“You can talk about history repeating itself, but we need to create our own destiny.
“We can’t just say ‘West Coast have been pretty good at bouncing, so we’re going to do it’.
“The fact is the club has been through it before and they’ve worked through it pretty well and now it’s our turn to do it.”
Premiership forward Junior Rioli was subbed out in the last quarter with a groin issue after only returning to the club on Tuesday after spending time in Darwin following the death of his father.
“I’m just so happy he came back and played the last game – he didn’t have to, it was totally up to him and he put the club first,” Simpson said.
Simpson is hopeful a new deal will be reached to keep the off-contract Rioli at the Eagles next year and beyond.
“Now that the season’s finished he can sit down and work it out and hopefully we get a decision soon,” he said.