Social media can often be an outpouring of emotion for aggrieved supporters, who look to vent their thoughts in a public forum.
After West Coast’s eight-point loss to the fast-finishing Saints, Eagles coach Adam Simpson was squarely in the line of fire.
— Paul Persic (@Paul_Persic97) August 6, 2017
Simpson was the centre of a barrage from fans who knocked the coach’s game plan and team selection.
Surely Adam Simpson's job is on the line? #AFLSaintsEagles
— Timothy (@timothy_89) August 6, 2017
Although they have every right to feel frustrated about season 2017 slipping away, West Coast fans have clearly lost sight about Simpson, forgetting what he has accomplished in his four years as the club’s senior coach.
Since taking the reigns from John Worsfold in 2014, Simpson can lay claim to a 61.8 per cent win record, with 55 wins from 89 games coached.
That percentage sees Simpson sit as the sixth most successful current coach behind Don Pyke, Chris Scott, John Longmire, Luke Beveridge and Alastair Clarkson.
Four of those coaches have a Jock McHale medal to their name and Don Pyke might soon join them with Adelaide’s current form.
Statistics aside, Simpson’s proven coaching ability is a major reason why any talk about his position being in jeopardy is simply scant.
In 2014, Simpson inherited a list which had finished the previous season in thirteenth on the back of experts predicting the Eagles as ‘premiership favourites’.
Compounding the club’s woes was the retirement of ’06 premiership stars Daniel Kerr and Andrew Embley, and the fact that Worsfold had stepped aside with a year to go on his contract.
Although Simpson’s impact in 2014 wasn’t immediate – the Eagles just missed the finals after finishing ninth – he had laid the foundation for the club’s rebound.
He uncovered a star in Jeremy McGovern, developed young players in Elliot Yeo, Jaimie Cripps and Dom Sheed while implementing quick ball movement, which became a run and gun tactic the following season.
Also, any Eagles fan must surely remember the highs of 2015?
A year which looked ruined when club best and fairest Eric Mackenzie succumbed to a season ending ACL injury in the NAB Challenge, all hope was supposedly lost when back-up defender Mitch Brown did the exact same injury in Round 1.
However, Simpson and his assistants managed to craft the ‘weagles web’ zone defence, which proved to be a masterstroke in their run to the grand final.
Although the Eagles were comprehensively beaten in the decider by Hawthorn, the club did not falter, with Simpson’s men enjoying 16 wins the following year.
The club’s 2016 season famously ended in the elimination final after to succumbing to eventual premiers the Western Bulldogs.
Stepping back into 2017, the prospect of the Eagles making another grand final and winning the premiership may seem an eternity away.
It’s clear though that Simpson can be the man to do it.
There is no doubt the Eagles are in a rut and their supporters come with a heavy expectation of winning due to the club’s successful past.
However, this isn’t the first time Simpson’s had to rejuvenate the Eagles list, the only difference being is that this time it’s his own situation, not something he’s been left with by a predecessor.
Can he turn the Eagles form around? Everything points to a yes, so let’s just wait and see.