ANOTHER visit to Melbourne brought with it the usual disappointment for West Coast on Sunday.
Hawthorn won its first game of the year by downing the Eagles 19.11 (125) to 11.9 (75) in the round five clash at the MCG, condemning the Perth outfit to its second defeat of the season.
The surprise loss to a Hawthorn side that has been woefully out of form in 2017 has been accompanied by more accusations the Eagles can challenge anyone in the west but, when forced to travel, crumble like a house of cards in a cyclone.
A loss to Richmond at the MCG in round three saw West Coast labelled "flat-track bullies” - a tag coach Adam Simpson didn't believe was founded. But the facts reveal an ugly truth.
Sunday's loss means West Coast has won only six of its past 24 games at the MCG and the club has not beaten the Hawks at the ground since 2006.
Last week AFL legend Wayne Carey took a swipe at Simpson for being so defensive about his team's away record, and now Brisbane Lions champion Jonathan Brown has laid the boot into the club.
"Your coach keeps defending your away record. It is putrid,” Brown said on Nova 100's Chrissie, Sam & Browny.
"That's why you don't win in Melbourne - because your team does not confront it.
"Your team and your coach, they do not man up and own the fact they can't win on the road.
"As soon as they get on a plane they get the wobbles.”
After the Eagles lost to the Tigers earlier in the season Simpson said the "flat-track bully” status made him "angry” and he defended his team's performance on the road.
Following Sunday's result against the previously winless Hawks, Simpson still refused to accept the MCG as a factor in his side's interstate woes.
"I get the question, but was it the MCG? I have no defence on that,” he said. "I'm not worried about the ground, I'm more worried about our resolve, our resilience, our intent.
"We have bigger problems than playing at the MCG at the moment.”
In his earlier attack, Carey said a loss to Alastair Clarkson's men would force Simpson to admit the Eagles have a giant monkey sitting on their back.
"He (Simpson) gets very, very defensive when West Coast's away record (comes up), he gets his back right up,” Carey said on Triple M's Rush Hour. "Well it's time to put up or shut up, I reckon.
"If they get beaten by Hawthorn on the weekend, you know what Simmo? No more of this, 'Oh we're not that bad away.'
"You know what Simmo? You're crap away!
"If you get beaten well by the Hawks then I reckon they've got to really have a real good look because you can't win a grand final unless you win on the MCG.”
Eagles ruckman Jonathan Giles was a late withdrawal from the game and Hawthorn counterpart Ben McEvoy dominated with 43 hit-outs and was best afield.
"We tried something different today. I really have to reflect and review on it,” Simpson said of his ruck tactics.
"I don't think it was the reason we got pantsed.
"I just want to see how the players respond to adversity. We're still not where we want to be in that area.”
The Eagles face Fremantle in a local derby next weekend.
WEST COAST'S RECORD UNDER SIMPSON
2014: home: 6-6, away: 5-5 (2-3 in Melbourne)
2015: home: 12-2, away: 6-4 (3-2 in Melbourne), one draw
2016: home: 11-2, away: 5-5 (1-3 in Melbourne)
2017: home: 2-0, away 1-2 (1-2 in Melbourne)
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