WEST COAST EAGLES v NORTH MELBOURNE
When: Friday, May 17
Where: Patersons Stadium
WEST COAST EAGLES
FB: Jacob Brennan, Darren Glass, Will Schofield
HB: Shannon Hurn, Eric Mackenzie, Beau Waters
C: Matt Rosa, Scott Selwood, Andrew Gaff
HF: Mark LeCras, Jack Darling, Chris Masten
FF: Josh Hill, Josh Kennedy, Daniel Kerr
R: Nic Naitanui, Matt Priddis, Luke Shuey
I/C: Sharrod Wellingham, Dean Cox, Brad Sheppard, Adam Selwood
EMG: Mark Hutchings, Bradd Dalziell, Mitch Brown
IN: Daniel Kerr, Beau Waters, Adam Selwood, Chris Masten
OUT: Mark Hutchings, Ash Smith, Mitch Brown, Bradd Dalziell (omit.)
Milestones: Darren Glass (250 games), Scott Selwood (100 games)
Last 5: W – L – L – W – W
FB: Scott McMahon, Scott Thompson, Jamie Macmillan
HB: Daniel Wells, Nathan Grima, Michael Firrito
C: Sam Gibson, Shaun Atley, Ryan Bastinac
HF: Ben Cunnington, Drew Petrie, Brent Harvey
FF: Lindsay Thomas, Majak Daw, Leigh Adams
R: Todd Goldstein, Andrew Swallow, Jack Ziebell
I/C: Sam Wright, Lachie Hansen, Aaron Black, Aaron Mullett
EMG: Will Sierakowski, Kieran Harper, Taylor Hine
IN: Nathan Grima
OUT: Will Sierakowski (omit.)
Last 5: L – W – L – W – W
Forecast: Shower or two, 20 degrees
TAB: West Coast $1.35, North Melbourne $3.20
<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=4f8e317656″ >BigFooty AFL</a>
After a poor start to the season, both West Coast and North Melbourne have made attempts to get back on track and stay in the hunt for a finals berth in 2013. The Eagles suffered three consecutive losses at their home ground within the first four weeks of the season, going down to Fremantle, Hawthorn and Carlton. Added to that was an incredibly disappointing loss to Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium after being in control for nearly 75% of the game. Since then, the Eagles have comprehensively beaten the lowly Western Bulldogs, and managed to get over the line against the Brisbane Lions last Saturday at the Gabba. With the return of Nic Naitanui two weeks ago, the West Coast line-up is already looking more stable and dangerous. With the inclusions of Daniel Kerr, Chris Masten and Beau Waters, they are only going to from strength to strength.
The Kangaroos lost four of their first five games of the season to highly-rated teams in Geelong, Sydney, Hawthorn and Collingwood, with a big victory over Brisbane amongst them. Like the Eagles, North go into this match with a two-game winning streak after knocking off the previously undefeated Port Adelaide at Blundstone Arena, and last week powered away in the final quarter against the Bulldogs to record a nine goal rout. Both sides sit outside of the top eight by one game and have a large percentage.
The night is finally upon the thousands of North Melbourne supporters that sat through the horrible, graphic thumping handed down by the Eagles in last year’s Elimination Final at the same venue. After an impressive end to the season, which saw them win 10 of the final 12 games of the season, the Roos ran out of steam and were no match for West Coast, who went on to win by 96 points.
Things are different now though. The legs are much fresher than then, another pre-season is under the belt, and the temperature is not going to be in the 30’s like last time. A revamped forward line featuring the athletic Aaron Black and the impressive specimen that is Majak Daw (who kicked six last week, for those that missed it), North are terrifically placed to challenge the Eagles on their home deck. With the confidence of beating the Bulldogs and Power behind them, along with the experienced heads of Brent Harvey, Daniel Wells and Drew Petrie, revenge will definitely be on the minds of the players.
This is what West Coast need to do to ensure victory. They boast the best one-two ruck set-up in the league, with All-Australian ruckman in Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui set to go up against the in-form Todd Goldstein. Goldstein is no doubt sure to be run off his legs, and will need help from his teammates in Daw, Petrie and even Lachie Hansen. Last season in Round 15, these sides played a close encounter in Hobart, and it was West Coast who won thanks to the sheer dominance of Cox. After an even first half, Goldstein suffered a head knock and was ruled out of the game due to concussion. Enter Cox. The big guy finished on 21 disposals, took 15 marks, won 24 hitouts and kicked three goals. It was one of the best games by a ruckman ever seen, and the vision of him taking marks up forward to kick crucial goals, then floating back to take a pack mark to save the game in defence is truly remarkable.
It’s unlikely that Cox will have the same impact on this game, but with the combined effort of Naitanui and himself, it will be a tough ask for Goldstein and his teammates to combat. Giving the midfield first use out of the centre is crucial for both sides, with the likes of Kennedy, Darling and the resting ruckman up one end ready to take the mark, while Petrie, Daw and Black sit waiting up the other. Not to mention the crumbing genius of LeCras, Hill, Masten, Thomas, Harvey and Adams.
He was one of the most popular SuperCoach ruckman picked last season, but a groin injury hampered Nic Naitanui’s start to the season. So much so, it is only recently in Round 6 that he has resumed playing. Priced at $611,000, he has a hefty price tag, but his score of 102 from last weekend against the Lions is sure to sway some of the coaches looking to offload someone like Mark Blicavs or Dale Thomas up forward.
For those coaches that have Daniel Wells in their midfield, they might be a bit upset with Brad Scott after he started with the substitute vest last weekend against the Bulldogs. He returned a score of just 28, but ignoring that, he’s in career-best form fantasy-wise, averaging 108 points from his first six games. At $557,400, he has risen in price by $27,700, but that is sure to keep rising. As long as he keeps away from that pesky green vest!
Since 2000, West Coast and North Melbourne have played 20 times. In 2012, the Eagles were the Kangaroos’ opponent three times, the most out of any side in the league. They lost all three games. From left to right, this is the result of each game from the start of the millennium.
WC – K – K – WC – WC – WC – K – WC – WC – WC – WC – WC – K – WC – K – K – WC – WC – WC – WC
West Coast: 14/20
North Melbourne: 6/20
West Coast home game (Patersons Stadium)
West Coast: 7/10
North Melbourne: 3/10
North Melbourne home game (Etihad Stadium, Manuka Oval, MCG, Blundstone Arena, Carrara
West Coast: 6/9
North Melbourne: 3/9
West Coast: 1/1
North Melbourne: 0/1
This should be a quality encounter, much unlike the last time these two teams played. Both sides are in good form after shaky starts to the year, and are looking to build on that platform as they head into the bye. North, despite having the best disposal efficiency in the league and West Coast ranked second-last, will struggle to overcome the Eagles, but hopefully some sort of effort is made this time.
WEST COAST EAGLES by 14.
First goalkicker: Majak Daw.
Don’t forget to check out episode 2 of the Official BigFooty Podcast!