Fans turn away in droves as Eagles crash and burn
West Coast coach Adam Simpson says he and his players simply need to accept the avalanche of criticism coming their way as fans start turning away from the flailing club.
Only 36,219 fans turned up to watch West Coast's 70-point loss to Gold Coast on a still and dry evening at Optus Stadium on Friday night.
It was a big drop from the 47,497 fans who turned up in 2019 in West Coast's most recent home match against Gold Coast in which there were no COVID crowd restrictions.
West Coast's nose-diving on-field fortunes have resulted in waves of harsh criticism online.
The insipid loss to Gold Coast, especially the lacklustre nature of the second term in which West Coast lost the contested possession battle 43-16, is set to intensify the spotlight on the club.
Simpson, who is contracted until the end of 2025, is desperate to lead the club through its rebuild, and he's copping the criticism on the chin.
"I know there's some disappointed members out there, and I get that," Simpson said.
"They can demand as much as they like, they pay the memberships.
"They want to see us being competitive. I get all that. We appreciate all the support coming our way, and the criticism is there as well.
"But we're trying. While we're going through this, it's going to be a challenge. It's no quick fix."
West Coast's devastating injury toll now stands at 18 players after Jack Darling (arm) and Jamaine Jones (broken nose) were added to the list.
Scans on Saturday confirmed Darling had fractured his left forearm, with the key forward set to consult specialists before a recovery time frame is established.
Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Jeremy McGovern, Jamie Cripps, Elliot Yeo, Tom Cole and Liam Ryan are also out injured, leaving West Coast at rock bottom with player availability.
The Eagles lost to Carlton by 108 points in Perth two weeks ago, and sit last on the ladder with a 1-8 record and a percentage of 60.5.
"I'll sound like a broken record because there's no go-to (fix)," Simpson said.
"With what we've got available, it's a challenge for some of them. That's the reality. But we've got to be resilient and we've got to find a way to compete."
West Coast's clash with Hawthorn in Tasmania next week looms as somewhat of a wooden spoon battle.
Gold Coast piled on eight goals to one in the second quarter of Friday night's fizzer, and Simpson was scathing of the way his players got beaten up in that term.
"The second quarter we just got blown away in the midfield," Simpson said.
"I don't think we won a clearance in the second quarter, or it wasn't until late."