Adam Simpson hopes his finest moment as West Coast coach is a watershed for his AFL club.
Simpson’s Eagles are perched in second spot on the ladder after they stunned Port Adelaide with an upset 10-point victory on Sunday.
“It’s the best win I have been a part of since I have been at the club,” said second-year coach Simpson of a tenacious 11.12 (78) to 10.8 (68) away triumph.
The Eagles were in danger of losing touch with Port, who led by 17 points at halftime.
But West Coast kicked seven of the last 10 goals of the game for a stirring victory.
“It’s probably just the next step of, hopefully, the evolution as a side and what we stand for,” Simpson said.
“Good clubs have a distinct brand and we are still working on ours. Hopefully today was a step towards that.
“That second half and the way the players stood up, how we went about it – and then the last 10 minutes when we were under siege, I thought our backs really stood up as well.
“We are really starting to see some development and excitement with our kids coming through.”
Simpson said the Eagles’ punt paid on playing spearhead Josh Kennedy despite an elbow injury paid off, with Kennedy collecting 14 possessions, kicking a goal and setting up two others.
West Coast were brilliantly served by a senior core of Mark LeCras (28 disposals), Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis (31 touches) and Chris Masten (30 possessions).
Basking in the Eagles’ ruck dominance, the trio provided plenty of drive into a forward line featuring two-goal cameos from Josh Hill, Jamie Cripps and Luke Shuey, who slotted his brace in the final term.
Port, now with three wins and three losses, were overly reliant on brilliant utility Robbie Gray, who gathered 25 disposals and kicked three majors.
Midfielders Hamish Hartlett (25 touches) and Brad Ebert (23 disposals) were prominent and Chad Wingard roamed far and wide in an influential two-goal, 20-possession game.
But Port coach Ken Hinkley said his side paid the price for a tardy approach.
“We didn’t get up again for a contest that we should have,” Hinkley said.
“The boys haven’t been able to consistently back it up over the journey.”