Simpson goes into bat for Shuey
Luke Shuey heads to Melbourne with the rest of the squad. Pic: Nic Ellis/WA News

West Coast coach Adam Simpson has defended Luke Shuey from comments by former Melbourne champion Garry Lyon, who described the Eagles midfielder as a "downhill skier".

Simpson declared the contested side of Shuey's game had improved and he had no issues with his form.

Simpson was also unperturbed by descriptions of the Eagles by Lyon as flat-track bullies who needed to take a big scalp on the big stage.

West Coast's only priority was to beat the team they were playing this week regardless of where they were on the ladder, Simpson said before his side flew out yesterday to face Collingwood at the MCG tomorrow.

West Coast have not beaten Collingwood at the MCG since round two 1995, when a team that included former coach John Worsfold and current assistant coach Don Pyke claimed a four-point win.

Simpson said the drought would not be a factor in his planning as he pressed for greater consistency from his team in implementing his game plan.

Shuey, 23, has faced criticism over the past two seasons as he has struggled to come to grips with being tagged.

But he has improved his output this year, averaging 23 disposals, more than a goal and 10 contested possessions a game.

"I don't worry too much about what the comments are," Simpson said. "We know where we are at internally.

"He (Shuey) does get tagged every week and I think he has handled himself pretty well. Contested ball has been right up for him. He gets close attention weekly."

Collingwood made two changes to the team beaten by Adelaide last round, Lachie Keeffe and Sam Dwyer making way for Nathan Brown and Alex Fasolo. The Eagles made one forced change to the side that demolished Greater Western Sydney, forward Josh Hill replacing Mark LeCras (suspended).

Simpson had set some clear guidelines for Hill to retain his spot.

Hill has played just two games and kicked only one goal this year. Simpson said if the 25-year-old brought the pressure side of his game up to standard, the goals would follow.

"He is obviously a senior player and he has been squeezed out on a few occasions," Simpson said. "He has been performing really well at East Perth so we are really comfortable with him.

"His opportunities have been limited and he hasn't performed the times we have played him, albeit they have been one-off games and I think one game was against Geelong and the other against Port. I know what he can bring. It is just how consistently he can bring it."

The West Australian

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