Former West Coast coach John Worsfold says the Eagles’ premiership window is now open, claiming the AFL club could even secure a top-four berth this season if they get off to a good start.
The Eagles started last year as one of the premiership favourites, but crashed to 13th on the table following a glut of injuries to key players.
Worsfold stepped down as coach at the end of the season, with the club legend replaced by former North Melbourne skipper Adam Simpson.
The Eagles boast a host of match-winners in their squad, and the additions of former Hawk Xavier Ellis and ex-Lion Elliot Yeo have bolstered their depth.
Worsfold said the return to full fitness of stars such as Nic Naitanui, Mark LeCras, Shannon Hurn, Luke Shuey and Sharrod Wellingham would play a pivotal role in helping the club surge up the table.
West Coast have the chance to make a flying start to the year when they take on the Western Bulldogs (home), Melbourne (MCG) and St Kilda (home) in the opening three rounds.
Worsfold is expecting big things from West Coast over the next three seasons, saying he always thought those years would be when the squad reached its peak.
“I think West Coast at their best could make the top four,” Worsfold told Channel Seven.
“I’ve predicted that they’ll be in the eight.
“I would say 2014, `15, `16 were the years the squad would probably be at its strongest.”
Worsfold backed Simpson to enjoy success in his new role, but said it was important for the rookie coach to block out unwanted distractions.
“He’s got to back himself in. He can’t listen to too much of the noise out there,” Worsfold said.
“We don’t totally disregard it, but he needs to be really clear on why he’s making the decisions he’s making and push forward with that.
“I’m hopeful I can shake Adam Simpson’s hand at the end of a very successful year and say, ‘I’m glad I left you something to work with’.”
The Bulldogs will be without star midfielder Ryan Griffen (back) for Sunday’s clash at Patersons Stadium, with the Eagles including former Demon Jamie Bennell in their squad.