Ailing Eagles face resurgent Saints

West Coast Vs St Kilda
Patersons Stadium
Sunday 20 May, 2:40pm

The injury ravaged West Coast Eagles are home to St Kilda to round out week eight of the AFL season.

The previously undefeated Eagles felt the sting of their mounting injury list in their ten-goal drubbing at the hands of the Bombers.

Riewoldt will be calling on similar support from his small forwards against the Eagles

West Coast, who lost Matthew Priddis to concussion in the second quarter, were totally outplayed through the middle, and their forward line were held to only three goals five minutes in to the last quarter, finishing with only seven for the game.

The Eagles will however welcome back Nic Natanui, Adam Selwood and Will Schofield straight back into the starting side, while Mitch Brown, Ryan Neates and Scott Lycett return to the WAFL. Priddis should also play pending passing a concussion test.

St Kilda caused the ‘flag favourite’ curse to continue by toppling the well-fancied Blues on Monday night in a great display of pace and aggression, with their small forwards dominating. The Saints will take running defender Jamie Cripps across to Perth as likely sub in place of Aaryn Siposs in their only change to the side that defeated Carlton by 24-points.

St Kilda have won the past four matches against the Eagles, including their past two encounters in Perth, yet Patersons Stadium has been a fortress for the Eagles, who have won 15 of their last 16 matches at home.

Key Matchups:

Dean Cox/Nic Natanui v Rhys Stanley/Justin Koschitzke/Jason Blake

With Nic Nat back and Cox up for it, the Saints fill in big men will struggle to contain the Eagles in the middle and resting in the forward line, where Quentin Lynch will also prove a troublesome matchup.

Matthew Priddis v Lenny Hayes

Assuming Priddis gets through his concussion test, a decisive battle in the middle looms; the Eagles clearances vanished once Priddis was subbed off early against the Bombers.

With Danel Kerr likely to be stalked by Clinton Jones, the Hayes/Priddis battle will be crucial for each sides forward line service.

Stephen Milne v Will Schofield

St Kilda’s pesky small forward recently notched his 500th career goal and slotted four majors against the Blues and will be a challenge to contain for Schofield, who returns after a fortnight on the sidelines.

Leigh Montagna v Beau Waters

The Eagles vice captain has racked up 26 disposals in his last two games at home, including 17 marks. Montagna seemingly loves playing West Coast, averaging 31 disposals in the last four games and showed some polish in his 24-touch game against the Blues after being well held against the Hawks the week before.

Final Say

The Saints will have no fear of the trip out west with their strong recent form over the Eagles and coming off their upset win over the Blues. St Kilda has unearthed some quick and dangerous small forwards in Terry Milera and Ahmed Saad to support the tireless Nick Riewoldt which makes the Saints’ attack far more threatening.

The Eagles, with Natanui returning, should be able to capitalize on the second string St Kilda ruck stocks and have the tall forwards to test the Saints back six. St Kilda have the wood on the Eagles, who despite the ins you still feel are a couple of players short, the Saints should grind out a tough win in a game likely to go down to the wire.

Prediction:

St Kilda by 4.

 Teams:

West Coast:

B: S.Butler, D.Glass, W.Schofield
HB: B.Waters, E.Mackenzie, S.Hurn
C: M.Rosa, M.Priddis, A.Gaff
HF: C.Masten, Q.Lynch, L.Shuey
F: D.Cox, J.Darling, J.Hill
FOLL: N.Naitanui, S.Selwood, D.Kerr
Bench: From: J.Brennan, P.McGinnity, A.Selwood, B.Sheppard, K.Stevens, L.Stevenson, T.Swift
In: A.Selwood , W.Schofield , N.Naitanui , T.Swift , L.Stevenson , K.Stevens
Out: M.Brown (Omitted) , R.Neates (Omitted) , S.Lycett (Omitted)

St Kilda

B: Gram Gilbert Blake
HB: Simpkin Dempster Geary
C: Saad Hayes Goddard
HF: Steven Riewoldt Montagna
F: Milne Stanley Milera
FOLL: Koschitzke Dal Santo Jones
Bench: From: Siposs Newnes Armitage Ray Gwilt Cripps Wilkes

 BigFooty’s Team Board Previews:

West Coast

St Kilda

Follow it live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread

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