Eagles urge fans to stay with AFL club

West Coast manager Adam Simpson has implored fans to stick with the club through this year of pain.

The Eagles suffered their fifth straight loss on Sunday when they suffered a 74-point loss to Melbourne at Optus Stadium.

The West Coast’s average losing margin in that stretch is 81 points, with Simpson struggling to field a side each week due to injuries and COVID-19.

A crowd of just 27,488 fans showed up for Sunday’s loss to Melbourne.

The Eagles consistently drew crowds of more than 50,000 when they moved into Optus Stadium in 2018.

A combination of WA’s COVID-19 outbreak and train problems meant Sunday’s crowd was even smaller than expected.

But the poor form of the team’s horror has played the biggest role in the huge drop in the crowd.

“One thing I do know is that we’ve had very good periods as a soccer club and we’re coming off a very good era,” Simpson said.

“I really hope our fans will stick by our side through tough times. We really appreciate your support. I know it’s been disappointing so far this year, but we like your support, we appreciate the crowd.”

The Eagles will be buoyed by the return of captain Luke Shuey for Sunday’s clash with GWS.

Shannon Hurn, Josh Kennedy and Andrew Gaff could also return, but Elliot Yeo (concussion/protocols) will be given a stint in the WAFL to improve his fitness and form.

Star striker Liam Ryan (hamstring) and Luke Foley (concussion) will miss at least a week.

The Eagles were missing 11 of their best 22 players against Melbourne, and Simpson saw some positives in the loss.

“Obviously we’re looking to play some young guys, get to the draft and look for a new identity as a club in terms of the way we want to play,” Simpson said.

“All of those things make it challenging when you don’t have your best team on the track.

“We want to be better, we want to score more, we want supply and we want a style of play that stands out.

“But it’s a challenge trying to give you that with what we have in front of us.

“We are trying to be as positive and pragmatic as possible.”

© A.A.P.

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