Eagles coach eyes off top-four AFL berth

Justin Chadwick

West Coast coach Adam Simpson has set his sights on locking down an AFL top-four spot after being handed a dream set of results at the weekend.

The Eagles proved they can be a flag contender even without Nic Naitanui by cruising to a 54-point thumping of the Western Bulldogs on Sunday.

But that wasn't the only result that left West Coast smiling.

Losses for flag rivals Sydney, Melbourne, and Port Adelaide mean the Eagles are now two wins clear inside the top four with just five rounds remaining.

The Eagles take on North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena on Sunday, before facing off against Fremantle, Port Adelaide (away), Melbourne (home), and Brisbane (away) in the run home.

"I think we have probably qualified for finals, which was our initial goal," Simpson said after the win over the Bulldogs.

"But we want to have a crack at top four, which is our next phase. We have five weeks to go as high as we can."

Skipper Shannon Hurn is facing suspension after delivering a high bump on Mitch Honeychurch.

Honeychurch was taken to hospital for scans on his neck, and he couldn't travel home with his teammates on Sunday night.

Eagles goalsneak Liam Ryan is unlikely to earn a recall against the Kangaroos after going goalless from six disposals in the WAFL on Saturday.

Simpson said he wouldn't take into account Ryan's quiet display given the atrocious conditions.

And he also dismissed rumours Ryan had been a late arrival to the match.

"That's scuttlebutt and I am not interested in that," Simpson said.

"I don't think that is true and even if that is true, people are late (sometimes). We had someone late (on Sunday).

"People are not deliberately late to a game, so we need to can that pretty quick."

Ryan was handed a two-match club-imposed ban earlier this month for an early-morning incident that ended with him crashing into a tree.

Meanwhile, Simpson acknowledged West Coast handled Naitanui's airport arrival poorly, but feels the club has already apologised enough over the incident.

Eagles integrity officer Peter Staples jostled two cameramen shooting footage of Naitanui's arrival at Perth airport after the ruckman ruptured his ACL against Collingwood in round 17.

It took five more days for the club to issue an official apology, and Simpson hopes the incident can now be put to bed.

"I think it is right to stay we didn't handle it well, but I am still backing in Staples," Simpson said.

"I am saying no one is perfect and we move on.

"This is getting oxygen every day and it really was a mistake,

"I back him in, he's a good man, he made a mistake. Simple as that. Everyone is aligned."