Rival coaches Adam Simpson and Justin Longmuir are pleased to see a 45,000 strong derby crowd welcomed back at Optus Stadium to see their men face off in another Western Derby.
Last night, Premier Mark McGowan announced Optus Stadium would host 45,000 West Coast Eagles fans this Sunday after last week’s Len Hall tribute match was played in an empty stadium.
However, it isn’t back to normal entirely, as fans will still have to don a mask, enabling the 75% capacity to proceed.
Tickets to this fiery rivalry will be the hottest in town as West Coast Chief Exceutive Officer Trevor Nisbett confirmed Eagles members with reserved seats will make up the majority of the derby crowd.
The few remaining seats are on sale from today at 4pm AWST.
Adam Simpson stated that playing with a crowd is great for the Western Australian community, and was grateful to have one in the first place.
“It’s just great that we got through this and we can play in front the crowd,” he said.
“We were a bit worried there that it was gonna be no crowd, or 50%, so to get 75%, that’s just great for everyone in the state.
“We’re going to need that support. I think everyone’s going to wear masks as well, so it might be a bit muffled but they can definitely clap.
“I don’t think any team would like to play in front of no crowd.”
In agreement with Simpson, Justin Longmuir believed the Eagles-heavy Western Derby crowd is better than no crowd as players feed on the energy fans bring, especially after last week.
“45,000 Eagles supporters are still gonna be pretty loud,” Longmuir said.
“It [was] disappointing for our fans last week and disappointing for the club.
“Whether it’s a home crowd or an away crowd, I still think your players draw off that energy. It’s got to be better than playing in front of an empty stadium.
“It’s good that the government’s gotten on top of it quickly and we’re returning to some sort of normality.”
The rivals will face off after two vastly different weeks. Geelong stuck their claws in to thrash West Coast by 97 points at GMBHA Stadium, while Fremantle jumped North Melbourne by 51 points.
Fremantle has a three-game win streak for the season, hoping to extend it to four and simultaneously end West Coast’s ten-game derby win streak.
West Coast is seeking redemption after last weeks utter embarrassment and keep its win streaks at Optus Stadium and in the Derby in tact.
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There’s a lot on the line for both teams and both coaches are seeing it as a challenge, which will be fantastic viewing for fans at home and at the stadium.
Simpson would like more consistency from his men after last week’s disappointment, and to play a brand of football they’re proud of, especially after the disaster at the Cattery.
“We were really disappointed last week, absolutely. We’ve been inconsistent this year,” he said.
“We haven’t been consistent over four quarters really for most of the year and I said this against Geelong last week and it was pretty true. If we can’t play four quarters of footy this week, we won’t win.
“That our goal, our challenge, regardless of personnel we want to play a brand that people are proud of – win, lose or draw. That’s our challenge this week.”
As for Longmuir, he sees the rivals as strong opponents, and another challenge to conquer and test themselves against, declaring that the losing streak against the Eagles had not crossed his or the playing group’s mind.
“West Coast’s form at home in particular has been outstanding,” he said.
“They’ve been really strong, so we see it as a really good challenge to see where we’re at. We need to build on form. We haven’t played four quarters I don’t think yet.
“We’ve played them once in the regular season playing a new brand and new system.
“They’ve got good personnel all over the ground, so we’ll have to be at our best to break the streak.
“We need to keep building on our footy as well and build some consistency on what we’re trying to do and this week is just another opportunity for us to do that.”
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