Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says he can't help but feel sorry for West Coast, but he's backing his friend Adam Simpson to lead the Eagles out of their current misery.
The Bulldogs moved into the top eight for the first time this year with a 101-point thumping of West Coast at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
Beveridge's men were so dominant that they ended the match with 16 individual goalkickers - an equal VFL/AFL record.
The Eagles (1-10) have lost their past seven matches by an average of 79.7 points, a dire run leaving them in last spot on the ladder.
Simpson and Beveridge became friends while working together as assistant coaches at Hawthorn.
The pair engaged in a lengthy chat following Saturday's match, and Beveridge has thrown his support behind Simpson.
"Simmo and I really bonded and he's a confidante, I consider him a friend," Beveridge said.
"He's a man of great character and he's achieved a lot at this football club.
"We worked together and shared some success at the Hawks and I just feel for him and the club at the moment. It's a matter of keeping his chin up and he'd do that naturally.
"The one thing about Simmo is he talks about unity but he acts it out. He unifies people and he's a great leader. I'm sure the Eagles will be fine and Adam will be instrumental in leading them out of the current challenges they have."
The Bulldogs' percentage went from 110.7 to 121.8 courtesy of the big win over West Coast.
But did the big win come with a tinge of guilt?
"There's a competitor in us all that doesn't show the opposition any mercy when you've got an opportunity to have a big win," Beveridge said.
"But ultimately, after the event, you can't help but feel for what the Eagles are going through.
"They've obviously had a lot of injuries, but then the COVID situation and what's transpired has really knocked the club around."
One positive to come out of West Coast's season from hell is that they'll have the No.1 pick in the upcoming mid-season draft.
The Eagles may use up to two selections in the mid-season draft in a move that will help kick along their rebuild.
"We know where we are at; we're not making excuses," Simpson said.
"We know what we have to do, it's just not going to be quick.
"We have to be pragmatic; not accept it, but understand we need to get better."
Australian Associated Press
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