Midfield coach Rawlings gives Eagles insight

WEST Coast's inside information for Saturday's Hawthorn date in Launceston stretches much further than coach Adam Simpson's knowledge of his former employer, with one of the men sitting next to him bringing a home-state awareness of the playing environment.

Simpson's midfield coach is Brady Rawlings, the Devonport product who played five of his 245 AFL games for North Melbourne (including his 150th) at Aurora Stadium, a ground he first graced as a junior.

``It is a really big ground,'' Rawlings told  The Examiner  when asked what he would tell his troops about the ground.

``We play at Subi (Patersons Stadium) every second week, so we think Aurora will suit us with our run on the bigger ground.

``Simmo has obviously been down there for many years with the Hawks, so we will give them some good info on the ground.

``Having people who have been intimately involved in the club and involved in their success will also help us.''

Simpson was an assistant coach when the Hawks won last year's flag while midfielder Xavier Ellis played in Hawthorn's 2008 premiership.

With only victories against lowly clubs Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, St Kilda and GWS in their 4-6 record, Saturday's game is a massive opportunity for the 11th-placed Eagles to claim a big scalp.

``Our ability to use the ball in the midfield this year and provide options is something we've been working on,'' Rawlings said.

``We've got a midfield which has a great endurance base, but they've also got to be able to use the ball well.

``The stats show when we win the contested ball we usually win the game, so that's the main focus for the boys going into the game, something we didn't do well [in Sunday's home loss] against North.

``Hawthorn are a high quality team, so it will be a big challenge for our group this week.

``They use the ball as well as anyone and we have to put them under pressure and get the ball back off them, so our midfielders will have to come with the mindset of winning their own ball, and when they don't have it, just pressuring them.''

Rawlings said plenty of attention would be put into Hawthorn's outside runners including Isaac Smith and Bradley Hill, saying shutting them down would be key to any victory.

Rawlings has followed his brother and former teammate Jade, who is Melbourne's backline coach, into coaching.

Jade, who also played for Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs, was Richmond's stand-in coach in 2009 and has also been assistant at Brisbane.

  West Coast will host an open training session at Aurora Stadium at 11.30am tomorrow with players signing autographs at the end of the session.

Brady Rawlings in 2010 during one of his five AFL matches at Launceston's Aurora Stadium.

Brady Rawlings in 2010 during one of his five AFL matches at Launceston's Aurora Stadium.


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