Adam Simpson called out over Harley Reid move as calls grow for decision on West Coast coach

Simpson appeared to have no answers for the Demons' onslaught on Sunday.

West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson has been torched for having a lack of a game plan as pressure continues to mount on the under-fire coach following a 54-point thrashing at the hands of Melbourne. Simpson was desperate to see a strong on-field response after reports emerged last week that three players had expressed their desire for a coaching change in a leaked chain of text messages.

But the Eagles offered very little on Sunday as they were unable to contain an early Demons onslaught and trailed by 37 points at quarter-time before limping to a 17.10 (112) to 8.10 (58) defeat at the MCG. The Eagles have now lost 56 of their last 65 games, by an average of eight goals.

And despite showing signs of improvement at the start of 2024, the defeat to the Demons showed they are still well behind the eight ball. It also shed a bad light on the coach, who was forewarned about the Demons targeting midfield sensation Harley Reid. But Simpson appeared to have no answer on how to counteract it as Reid was played out of the game by a well-drilled and prepared Demons outfit.

Pictured Harley Reid left and right with Adam Simpson
Adam Simpson appeared to have no answers for the Demons' onslaught on Sunday, as Melbourne played Harley Reid off the park. Image: Getty

Earlier this season Reid starred for West Coast as they pulled off a massive round 10 upset over Melbourne, racking up 21 disposals, seven clearances, two goals and three score assists in a barnstorming display. As well as those incredible stats for the rookie, in a goal-of-the-year contender he burned off Christian Petracca with an insane turn of foot before taking three bounces to kick one of his majors. Reid also consistently got the better of both Petracca and Clayton Oliver in what was one of the best performances of the 2024 AFL season.

So ahead of Sunday's rematch, Goodwin warned that his side had come up with a specialised plan to shut down the rookie and that is exactly what they did. "He showed us last time what he's capable of to a really high level. So there's no doubt we'll be prepared for Harley Reid," Goodwin said on Thursday.

Reid finished with an underwhelming 16 disposals, seven tackles and four clearances. The Eagles' midfield was overrun from the outset and their 54-point defeat followed a horror show the week prior in their 61-point home loss to Hawthorn.

The performance only provided further ammunition to West Coast players who are reportedly pushing for new leadership to help make the club AFL contenders. Last week text messages were uncovered from three players to people outside the club declaring they want a new man in charge at the embattled Eagles, expressing that they believe they need a "fresh voice". And Sunday's dismal display against Melbourne is likely to only reinforce that belief.

But it isn't just the playing group that is growing frustrated with Simpson, with Eagles fans fed up after the performance against the Demons, airing their grievances online. While the overall team performance was hammered, Simpson's failure to protect Reid despite being forewarned he would be targeted had fans calling for the coach to be sacked immediately.


While the 48-year-old's contract runs until the end of 2025, a poor end to this season could spell the end of his 11-year reign. And speaking after the Melbourne loss, the coach revealed he is comfortable and aware that his time in the game will not last forever.

"I'm here to do a job as best I can and I'll do that until I get tapped on the shoulder," Simpson said. "That's not really a question. I know how long the road's going to be and I'm up for it, but if the club's not then they're not.

"It's going to be up and down, the last few weeks have been down. It doesn't mean all hope is lost. We can't ride that wave. Whether it's me or someone else, it's going to take time. I sort of know how long the road is going to be. I'm up for it, but if the club's not, then they're not. That's fine. I'm okay with my football mortality. It's OK."

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 19: Adam Simpson, Senior Coach of the Eagles addresses the players at the break during the 2024 AFL Round 10 match between Waalitj Marawar (West Coast Eagles) and Narrm (Melbourne Demons) at Optus Stadium on May 19, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
While Adam Simpson's contract runs until the end of 2025, a poor end to this season could spell the end of his 11-year reign.

Football legend Leigh Matthews believes that despite a strong start to 2024, the team needs a fresh start and that means a new leader. "If you lose enough, eventually it hits the fan and it is time for a new voice. You think the Eagles are approaching that, whether it's at the end of the year or whether it's now," Matthews said.

"In footy, a new coach is the fresh start." Simpson still has close to 18 months left on his contract.

with AAP