Adam Simpson's departure from West Coast has prompted expressions of admiration from his peers. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS
  • Australian rules football

AFL coaching rivals join forces to praise Adam Simpson

July 10, 2024

AFL coaches around the league have expressed their love and admiration for Adam Simpson, with the departing West Coast mentor described as a class act and someone worth cherishing.

Simpson was informed by West Coast on Monday night that the club will be looking to bring in a new coach.

The 2018 premiership coach has decided not to coach a farewell match against Brisbane at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

Instead interim coach Jarrad Schofield will take the reins.

Less than 24 hours after the news of his impending departure dropped, coaches from around the league have tipped their hat to Simpson.

Justin Longmuir worked under Simpson for four years at West Coast before moving to Collingwood and then eventually landing the top job at Fremantle.

 Dockers mentor Justin Longmuir learned much as an assistant to Simpson. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

Such is Longmuir’s respect for Simpson, he didn’t even want to talk about the possible replacements for the West Coast coach.

Instead, Longmuir used his weekly press conference to praise Simpson for the impact he’s had on his coaching career.

“I’m very thankful for my time working with him,” Longmuir said.

“I took a lot from the way he set the environment up, the way he coached, the way he educated, tactics.”

West Coast have won just eight of their past 65 games, and are still in the early stages of the biggest rebuild in the club’s history.

No club was hit harder than West Coast by injuries and illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I feel for him as a person and what he’s gone through. It’s been a really challenging time,” Longmuir said.

“I just hope we all remember Simmo for his earlier days. He came in and had instant success – a grand final in his second year, he won a flag.

“The impact he’s had on a lot of young men, a lot of coaches around him, me being one of them (has been significant).

“He should walk out really proud of what he’s done.”

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he will touch base with Simpson as a show of support.

 Celebrate his contribution, says Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS 

“It’s always a sad day when you see a senior coach departing a footy club,” Goodwin said.

“Obviously for Adam it’s not necessarily a sad day, it should be a celebration of what he’s contributed to that footy club – 11 years, premiership, grand final.

“He’s a very stable person and he’s been a great coach for their footy club, and one that they’ll cherish when they look back.”

Collingwood coach Craig McRae praised the way Simpson handled his exit.

 Magpies coach Craig McRae praised Simpson as a class act. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

“It’s hard to watch one of your other coaches lose his job,” McRae said.

“A premiership coach, an incredible record. He’s a class act.”

Essendon coach Brad Scott said it was hard for coaches to live up to the high expectations of fans while working in an environment where the AFL tries to promote competitive balance.

“So it creates a scenario where the AFL would like every team to win a premiership once every 18 years,” Scott said.

“But I’m pretty sure the fans and clubs don’t have that expectation, they’ve got higher expectations than that.

“He (Simpson) is a great person. I’ve got a lot of time for him. He’s been a great coach, he was a great player, and he’s given a lot to football.”