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Eagles ‘always will and always have’ supported Ben Cousins, says coach Adam Simpson Mark Duffield
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 30: Ben Cousins of the Eagles celebrates with the trophy after the AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 30, 2006 in Melbourne, Australia.

West Coast coach Adam Simpson says the Eagles “always will and always have” supported Ben Cousins after his latest arrest.

Speaking from Geraldton before the Eagles trained ahead of their JLT Community Challenge game against Fremantle tomorrow, Simpson said it was “unfortunate to hear” about Cousins’ latest legal drama.

“I don’t know too much about the detail. Obviously Ben is a big part of our history. I am worrying about the present and the future at the moment,” he said.

Meanwhile Simpson confirmed that all of the 22 he would play if round one of the home and away season were this weekend would play in tomorrow’s match against the Dockers.

He predicted that up to 12 players were auditioning for the last seven or eight spots in the team with recruits Sam Mitchell and Drew Petrie expected to pay good minutes.

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“It was part of our strategy that last week we took a younger squad to New South Wales. Two games to go. We have got tomorrow and then a twelve day break. We need to get some minutes into our senior players,” he said.

“They will play a fair few minutes along with Nathan Vardy as well. We need to get the chemistry going as quick as we can. We did contemplate playing them last week but being in the mid thirties a couple of those blokes, we looked after them with their travel commitments for this year.”

“We need to get full games into probably all of those guys.”

“There are probably seven or eight spots up for grabs and 10 to 12 blokes going for them. That is a good problem to have. We have had a pretty healthy look to our pre-season. Jonathan Giles is probably the one that has got to play some minutes before the pre-season ends.”

Cousins walks off the field after his return in 2007.
Cousins walks off the field after his return in 2007.Picture: Trevor Collens / The West Australian

Simpson said the Eagles round one trip to NSW country town Narrandera to play GWS had presented issues but he was confident that his team could prepare for round one off two good games.

“If they get two weeks of good footy. We are okay with that,” he said, stressing that ground time and an injury free runs were the most important things he wanted from tomorrow.

“We don’t want injuries. We want to get our minutes up and we want a clean sheet with injuries. They are our two priorities.”

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