My departure not a shock for the players: Simpson

Justin Chadwick |

Departing West Coast coach Adam Simpson feels relieved but sad to be leaving the club he loves and doesn’t think the decision was a big shock for his players.

Eagles chief executive Don Pyke informed Simpson on Monday night  the club was keen to start a fresh chapter with a new coach.

The decision comes after weeks of intense speculation about Simpson’s position, which intensified when text messages from three players expressing their desire for change were leaked to the media.

Simpson is a well-loved figure both inside and outside the club, but he also acknowledged there are likely some players who are glad to see him step down. 

“I don’t know how shocked everyone is to be honest,” Simpson said. 

“There’s been a fair bit of tension over the last couple of years, particularly the last few weeks.

“I’m sure everyone will be feeling different.

“There’s eight or nine premiership players, there’s guys who have just been drafted, there’s guys who probably would say, ‘Thank God’.

“I think there’s mixed emotions. We’ll move on pretty quick. This will come and go.”

Simpson doesn’t know what will come next for him, but he’s looking forward to a well-earned rest. 

“I think making decisions is something I need a break from,” Simpson said.

“When you get in this position, every day you make 100 decisions – whether it’s the itinerary or who you’re going to pick. All those things.

“So just making less decisions for a little bit of time – recharge, and we’ll see what happens in the next phase of my life.

“I still have passion for the game.

“I probably need a break to be honest. The sense of a little bit of relief as well as sadness is what I feel at the moment, and optimism for our player group.”

West Coast face a hefty payout of close to $1m given Simpson was contracted for next season.

Simpson was 38 when he landed the job at West Coast at the end of 2013.

His hair quickly turned white and Simpson used his departure press conference to come clean on one of his long-held secrets.

“The hair’s gotten pretty grey since I got here, although I did dye it before. I was living a lie, I must admit,” Simpson said.

“And when I got this job, I thought, ‘I can’t live this lie’, and so I stopped (dying it).

“And overnight I went grey. So it wasn’t the stress of the job.”

Simpson was able to poke fun at himself over losing his job.

“The Disney+ might get the flick kids. Money’s going to dry up a little bit. Take my visa card of your phones,” Simpson joked.

Simpson also used the press conference to take a shot back at the media’s coverage of him over the past year.

When asked the moment he realised the time was right to move on, Simpson replied: “Probably your 300th article.

“You guys can be cruel sometimes. You’ve got to keep that in check, because we’re human and we have families.”

Simpson was given a standing ovation by his player group upon leaving the press conference and will consider coaching the group one final time in Sunday’s clash with Brisbane at Optus Stadium.