West Coast coach Adam Simpson has heaped praise on Tom Barrass after the defender put aside an emotional few weeks to produce a standout display in the 25-point win over Gold Coast.
Barrass’ father – legendary WA news reporter Tony – passed away late last month after a short battle with throat cancer.
Tom Barrass played in the recent pre-season game against Fremantle shortly after his father’s death, and he was a key contributor in West Coast’s win on Sunday.
Barrass took a whopping 13 marks from his 22 disposals in a mouth-watering match-up against Suns forward Ben King.
King ended with three goals to his name, but Barrass pulled off numerous intercepts to set up attacks the other way.
“King’s going to be not a bad player. He kicked three,” Simpson said.
“But Tom’s been dealing with a lot of adversity the last couple of weeks, and his football has gone to another level.
“The boys have been around him, the club is his sanctuary, and he’s not letting us down.”
West Coast trailed by seven points early in the final quarter, but they exploded from that point to kick the final five goals of the match.
The Eagles were without their two best midfielders, Luke Shuey and Elliot Yeo, and Simpson was happy with how the midfield stood up.
Dom Sheed tallied 34 disposals and nine clearances, while Tim Kelly racked up 28 disposals, five clearances, and nine inside 50s.
Defender Liam Duggan, who has been thrown into the midfield to fill the void, finished with 22 possessions.
“I thought they stood up pretty well,” Simpson said of the midfield.
“In years gone by without Shuey and Yeo, we’d be in a fair bit of trouble in our midfield.
“Dom stood up. Tim stood up again. (Andrew) Gaff, (Jack) Redden – Duggan is now a bona fide midfielder. We probably held our own.”