Who: West Coast Eagles v Melbourne Demons
Where: Patterson’s Stadium, Perth, WA.
Tune In: 4:30pm – Fox Footy – Channel 504.
Whoever is dealing the cards of life at the Great Poker Game in the Sky, really hates Melbourne.
Off-field, their week resembles a dramatic novel which screams to be turned into a movie.
On-field, they were insipid, directionless, leaderless, soft and lacked a hunger professional footballers should have. After the hellfire they sat through, another test arises; they must go west to face an Eagles outfit looking to climb to new heights.
Worsfold’s men, after three-quarters of fighting off a gallant and hard-working Western Bulldogs, became ruthless and proved that even with injury concerns, it is not a force to be taken lightly.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN?
Melbourne: Well, I think in all honesty, there are two reasons to tune in solely on the basis of watching Melbourne.
Will we get a coherent, noble performance which will push the Eagles all the way after a long week in the pressure cooker, or will they succumb to a doomsday scenario which could sink their entire season?
Aaron Davey was rightfully dropped after playing a pathetic brand of soft and uninspired football. Brad Green, James Frawley, Mitch Clark and others are on notice, and need to make a big statement.
Clark was virtually non-existent last week, except for two junk-time goals. He was beaten and out-numbered at nearly every contest he made it to, with the Melbourne gameplan going forward far too predictable for the Lions.
Mark Neeld will surely not continue to have his troops go long around the boundary, which last week highlighted his sides lack in footskills and ball movement which ultimately proved the Dees’ undoing.
Brisbane were allowed to get numbers on the fat side of the ground, allowing them to switch from any contest and score with relative ease. On the wide spaces of Subiaco, Melbourne will be slaughtered if such a game plan is re-created. Melbourne do not have the class or talent yet to play Collingwood’s tried and tested game plan.
Naturally the alternative is through the middle, which is more risky. However, Melbourne only looked dangerous when Jack Grimes, Jack Trengrove, James Magner and Jack Watts were streaming through the middle last week.
This also should be compounded with minimising stoppages. Melbourne lack a good inside midfield, and with Nic Natanui and Dean Cox destined to win a large amount of ball, keeping the ball in motion and as far away from the boundary is in the Dees’ best interests.
West Coast: Josh Kennedy could really win the Coleman. Although we are yet to see him string together 2 or 3 blinding games, Melbourne must prepare themselves to drop back in numbers or he will be well on his way.
He must be beaten not only on the ground, but in the air, something the Dees struggled to do with mid-sized midfielder Tom Rockliff last week, who ended up at full forward and had 8 scoring shots.
Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey will have it too easy over a Melbourne midfield and Daniel Kerr was deceptively quiet last week. With a lack of opposition insiders, he could also wind back the clock. The Cox/Nic Nat duo could also be in for a big day if Melbourne go around the boundary.
Not only at stoppages will they will win hit-outs and clearances – but will prefer the long bombs to targets on the flanks to take easy contested marks. With the wide and long ground, the Eagles could really exploit the Dees for space and score heavily.
Who Will Win?
Melbourne have far greater issues for them to focus on this game. If senior players don’t stand up and a new game plan is enacted, there could be a real flogging on the cards here. This will test Neeld’s resolve and mettle as a coach: Will he stick to his guns, or is he planning something greater for the Eagles? Whatever it is, it won’t be enough.
Eagles by 51.
West Coast Eagles
B: Beau Waters, Darren Glass, Will Schofield
HB: Adam Selwood, Eric Mackenzie, Shannon Hurn
C: Andrew Gaff, Matthew Priddis, Matthew Rosa
HF: Ashton Hams, Quinten Lynch, Jack Darling
F: Josh Hill, Josh Kennedy, Chris Masten
Foll: Dean Cox, Luke Shuey, Daniel Kerr
I/C: Andrew Embley, Scott Selwood, Nic Naitanui, Ashley Smith
Emg: Sam Butler, Patrick McGinnity, Gerrick Weedon
Milestones: Shannon Hurn – 100 games
B: Joel Macdonald, James Frawley, Clint Bartram
HB: Jamie Bennell, Jared Rivers, Colin Garland
C: Jack Watts, Jack Grimes, Nathan Jones
HF: Ricky Petterd, James Sellar, Jeremy Howe
F: Lynden Dunn, Mitchell Clark, Brad Green
Foll: Mark Jamar, James Magner, Jack Trengove
I/C: Matthew Bate, Stefan Martin, Rohan Bail, Jordie McKenzie
Emg: Aaron Davey, Tom McDonald, Josh Tynan
In: Lynden Dunn, Ricky Petterd, Jamie Bennell, James Sellar
Out: Aaron Davey, Brent Moloney (Groin), Sam Blease, Josh Tynan
New: James Sellar (Adelaide)
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