Eagles set to march on

Whilst Wang – gate dominated the Football consciousness this week, the Eagles are undefeated and look like comfortable NAB Cup favorites.

Even though they barely scraped past a plucky and motivated Power last weekend out in WA, by all reports they still looked in the driver’s seat at all times.

Whilst the Eagles were tackling the Power, the Saints had a scratch match in the rain, putting on a show for the brave few that tolerated torrential rain in regional Victoria.

Tomorrow night sees two sides clash; one looking to top off a near perfect pre-season, the other looking for something to kick-start the fire they lacked in 2011.

Why Should You Tune In?

West Coast Eagles: The reinvention and perfection of the Eagles midfield is nearing completion. Once upon a time, Andrew Embley and Daniel Kerr were joined by the likes of Chris Judd and Ben Cousins when the Eagles ruled the roost.

With emerging star Chris Masten hitting the gym in the summer, his ability to find contested ball has seen him among the Eagles’ best in all three NAB hit-outs thus far.

Add Matthew Priddis and the dynamic Koby Stevens who can also drift forward and you start to see a midfield threatening to explode.

A further question is whether the Eagles treat the match with utter seriousness. A win would see them have a pre-season free from interstate travel; something the teams from the West are subjected to rigorously during the year.

Such an extended break from traveling could have benefits considering they travel to Melbourne in Round 1 to play the Bulldogs.

St. Kilda: Justin Koschitzke. A riddle, wrapped in a mystery. Is this a man lucky to be playing league football? Is he a man that has been cursed by injury, poor form and confidence issues?

I don’t think we’ll ever know, to be honest. Does he have potential to grab a game by the scruff of the neck and put it beyond doubt? Absolutely. Word from Seaford suggest he’s had his best pre-season in years, so watch his first trial for 2012 with interest.

Another area of curiosity is how the Saints’ youngsters can step up and play a vital role in 2012. With Arryn Siposs, Jack Steven and Rhys Stanley all being touted as the next generation, they need to show new coach Scott Watters signs of improvement.

Prediction:

Even though the Saints field a pretty strong list, it’s hard to see past an Eagles side that looks set to rise to the challenge and potentially become NAB Cup champions.

The Eagles need to send a pretty big message to the rest of the competition, and to get heard by the powerhouses on the East Coast they must defeat the Saints to go through to a home final next week.

Eagles by 21.

Coverage: Fox Footy, Channel 504, 8:10pm EST

Squads:

WEST COAST
4. Daniel Kerr, 5. Brad Sheppard, 6. Mark Nicoski, 7. Chris Masten, 8. Beau Waters, 9. Nic Naitanui, 10. Scott Selwood, 11. Matt Priddis, 14. Koby Stevens, 15. Tom Swift, 16. Eric Mackenzie, 18. Bradd Dalziell, 19. Ryan Neates, 20. Dean Cox, 24. Matt Rosa, 26. Sam Butler, 27. Jack Darling, 28. Ashley Smith, 30. Blayne Wilson, 31. Will Schofield, 33. Josh Hill, 34. Jacob Brennan, 35. Patrick McGinnity, 36. Fraser McInnes, 37. Adam Selwood, 40. Anton Hamp, 43. Ashton Hams, 44. Gerrick Weedon, 47. Lewis Stevenson

ST KILDA
1. Jason Gram, 2. Arryn Siposs, 3. Jack Steven, 4. Clint Jones, 5. Ben McEvoy, 7. Lenny Hayes, 11. Leigh Montagna, 12. Nick Riewoldt, 13. Adam Schneider, 14. Jarryn Geary, 15. Tom Ledger, 17. Nick Winmar, 18. Brendon Goddard, 19. Sam Gilbert, 20. David Armitage, 22. Farren Ray, 23. Justin Koschitzke, 24. Sean Dempster, 25. Sam Fisher, 26. Nick Dal Santo, 27. Jason Blake, 28. Rhys Stanley, 30. Brett Peake, 31. Tom Simpkin, 32. Terry Milera, 34. Dean Polo, 35. Jamie Cripps, 37. Beau Wilkes, 44. Stephen Milne

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