AAP AFL

Eagles coach downplays free-kick dominance

By AAP Newswire

West Coast coach Adam Simpson insists he hasn't noticed his team's lucky run on the free-kick count, refusing to get drawn into the "noise of affirmation" argument.

The Eagles have enjoyed a golden run from the whistleblowers at home this AFL season, winning the free-kick count in seven of their eight matches at Optus Stadium.

Some of those figures have been heavily lopsided, raising the eyebrows of some opposition coaches.

In the round-seven win over Port Adelaide, West Coast won the free-kick count 30-13.

They also came out well on top in games against Richmond (21-10), St Kilda (25-12) and Essendon (33-17).

West Coast also enjoyed a free-kick edge in recent years at Subiaco Oval, their former home ground.

That dominance led to St Kilda coach Alan Richardson coining the term "noise of affirmation" to describe umpires being influenced by roaring Eagles fans.

AFL umpires coach Hayden Kennedy has reportedly confirmed the league will look into the free-kick trends of West Coast home games.

But it's a topic Simpson doesn't want to get caught up in.

"I have not got an answer for it," Simpson said.

"We don't train for free kicks. So it's really not my issue.

"We have good days, we have bad days with the umpires, like all the clubs. We love our fans going off, though.

"I'm not going to try to justify why we get free kicks. They (umpires) have a difficult job.

"For the most part, I don't notice the umpires either way and I don't think too often they affect the result."

West Coast won't have the noise of affirmation working in their favour on Saturday when they take on the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

The Crows (6-7) have lost their past four games to slip out of the top eight.

But the return of Rory Sloane, Rory Laird and Luke Brown from injury has boosted hopes the Crows can turn their fortunes around.

Goalsneak Eddie Betts was ruled out with a hamstring injury, while forward Tom Lynch couldn't be considered after suffering a concussion at training on Wednesday.

West Coast brought in Brendon Ah Chee and Brayden Ainsworth for Mark LeCras (wrist) and Jackson Nelson (axed).

The Eagles have lost two straight games and are without their best three forwards after LeCras joined Josh Kennedy (leg) and Jack Darling (ankle) on the sidelines.

WEST COAST FREE-KICK COUNTS AT OPTUS STADIUM

Rd 1 v Sydney: 20-28 (-8)

Rd 3 v Geelong: 26-18 (+8)

Rd 4 v Gold Coast: 28-19 (+9)

Rd 6 v Fremantle: 22-20 (+2)

Rd 7 v Port Adelaide: 30-13 (+17)

Rd 9 v Richmond: 21-10 (+11)

Rd 11 v St Kilda: 25-12 (+13)

Rd 14 v Essendon: 33-17 (+16)