West Coast coach Adam Simpson will stick with his skills-based game plan, saying bombing the ball into attack to put an under-sized Fremantle defence under siege is not the secret to pulling off a western derby boilover.

The Eagles will boast four players taller than 190cm in their forward line today at Patersons Stadium against a Fremantle side with only one defender, Zac Dawson, in the same bracket.

Despite the aerial advantage, Simpson said he would not tell players to put aside his focus on skills and kick long to the marking forwards.

He has lamented the lack of finesse with the ball going forward this season that has left the club ranked equal 10th for marks inside 50 despite having Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling, Jeremy McGovern and a resting Dean Cox or Nic Naitanui in attack.

"One thing I think Fremantle can handle - it doesn't matter who it is - is if you bomb it in, it'll come back with some interest," Simpson said.

"We won't change the way we play. We're still developing and learning and growing and I don't think Freo will change the way they play either.

"They've just got elite team defence. They're well drilled, they're organised.

"It's not reliant on any particular player and they know how to soak up pressure … we'll keep working on what we need to do with the ball."

The derby is critical for 10th-placed West Coast, who need a third successive win to keep in touch with the top eight ahead of hosting Sydney.

Simpson said he was learning how to motivate players and would not copy the approach from his derby debut as coach when he internally built up the game's significance.

West Coast were overrun in the second half in round seven and Simpson predicted the Dockers would try the same tactics.

"They'll use that to their strength," he said.

"We did kick ourselves out of it at stages last time we played, but we didn't deserve to win and they did run over us in the end."

Simpson said Shannon Hurn would captain West Coast as part of the leadership rotation and Patrick McGinnity would provide "grunt and tenacity" in his first AFL game of the year.

He also said Luke Shuey was working heavily with midfield coach Brady Rawlings to become better at breaking tags.

Ryan Crowley had Shuey's measure in their past three meetings, keeping him to 18 disposals or less each time.

"If he gets tagged, we've got some triggers that we're trying to work on with him," Simpson said.

"I think it's an asset for us to have someone like Brady who's been there and done that as a run-with player and trying to teach him all the tricks that they (the opposition) don't want him to know.

"That's definitely helped him."

West Coast also announced SGIO had signed a three-year contract extension to continue as the club's major sponsor until the end of 2017.

"One thing I think Fremantle can handle … if you bomb it in, it'll come back with some interest." " *Adam Simpson *

The West Australian

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