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Qualifying Final Sydney Showgrounds
Sun, 17 Sep 2017 • 17:25 WST
West Coast Greater Western Sydney
9.4 (58) 19.11 (125)
Game Focus


Injury List

Player Injury Weeks


AFL Ladder

Team P % Pts
1. Adelaide 22 136.0 62
2. Geelong 22 117.4 62
3. Richmond 22 118.3 60
4. GWS Giants 22 114.9 60
5. Port Adel. 22 129.7 56
6. Sydney 22 126.8 56
7. Essenscum 22 106.5 48
8. West Coast 22 105.7 48
9. Melbourne 22 105.2 48
10. W. Bulldogs 22 97.1 44
11. St Kilda 22 96.9 44
12. Hawthorn 22 90.7 42
13. Coll'wood 22 99.0 38
14. Fremantle 22 74.4 32
15. North Melb. 22 87.6 24
16. Carlton 22 78.2 24
17. Gold Coast 22 76.0 24
18. Brisbane 22 74.3 20


by Matt Quinn
24th September 2015
If you asked the average Eagles fan what they expected to be doing in September, it would only have been the most diehard and delusional supporter who dared to voice "going to watch a home Prelim final at Subiaco". Despite all that, here we are, with thousands of us off on Saturday night to watch the Eagles do battle with the Kangaroos for a place in the match we all want to be in - the *awed hush* Grand Final *end awed hush*.

With a nearly full strength side to pick from (but giving a thought to the players from MacKenzie and Brown on who've fallen foul of the injury gods), the Eagles are primed to make a visit to the hallowed turf of the MCG to play off for the premiership for the first time since tasting glory in 2006. In the way: North Melbourne.


Squads

West Coast Ruck B Shannon Hurn (25)
Will Schofield (31)
Sharrod Wellingham (12)
North Melbourne Ruck
Nic Naitanui (9)  F Kayne Turner (40)
Jarrad Waite (30)
Brent Harvey (29)
Todd Goldstein (22)
Luke Shuey (13)  HB Elliot Yeo (6)
Jeremy McGovern (20)
Brad Sheppard (5)
Andrew Swallow (9)
Andrew Gaff (3)  HF Shaun Higgins (4)
Drew Petrie (20)
Nick Dal Santo (15)
Ben Cunnington (10)
  C Jamie Cripps (15)
Matthew Priddis (11)
Matt Rosa (24)
  C Sam Wright (19)
Jack Ziebell (7)
Ben Jacobs (5)
  HF Dominic Sheed (4)
Jack Darling (27)
Mark LeCras (2)
  HB Lachlan Hansen (6)
Jamie Macmillan (34)
Sam Gibson (43)
  F Josh Hill (33)
Josh Kennedy (17)
Callum Sinclair (22)
  B Michael Firrito (11)
Scott Thompson (16)
Shaun Atley (18)
West Coast Interchange Chris Masten (7), Mark Hutchings (34), Xavier Ellis (18), Sam Butler (26),  
Taylor Garner (27), Robbie Tarrant (25), Lindsay Thomas (12), Ben Brown (50), North Melbourne Interchange


Weather

Fine
Overnight Minimum:11

Changes

The Eagles have made one big omission to the team, dropping vice captain Scott Selwood along with Paddy McGinnity. However two players had to go out to make way for Matt Priddis and Chris Masten to return, and Selwood was the player who's match fitness was showing the most. Unfortunate for a long term servant of the club, but there's always tough selections in any final.

Over at the Roos, they've brought Robbie Tarrant back into the team in place of Luke McDonald.

Injuries and Suspensions

The Eagles have battled injuries all year, and the numbers at times have boggled the mind when you see the team still winning and riding high in the top parts of the ladder. But at this time, the club's list is as strong as it's been for much of the season - the fact that Scott Selwood is the 23rd player this week says that the team is pretty strong. But it's worth noting that this team has been without both first choice tall defenders in Mackenzie and Brown all year, and lost Liam Duggan mid season as well. The Eagles injury list at this time well exceeds that of the other three clubs still in the running. Of the named players, the biggest question would be over the fitness of Jeremy McGovern

North have a couple of players with question marks - Robbie Tarrant who missed last week, and Drew Petrie who took a knock, but it would be remarkable if either didn't play. They've also had the mercurial talents of Daniel Wells out most of the season, and while he's theoretically available, he won't.
Player Injury Weeks
Priddis Thigh test
Lycett PCL test
Masten Hamstring indef
MacKenzie Knee ACL seas
Brown Knee ACL seas
McInnes Hamstring seas
Duggan Knee seas
Waterman Glandular Fever seas
Tunbridge Ankle seas
Cavka Foot seas


Lead up

The Eagles have had the week off after dismissing Hawthorn in a dynamic display a fortnight back. Apart from a couple of minor stumbles (notably against the Crows), the Eagles have seen off every challenge put forth this year.

The Roos snuck into the eight - in eighth in fact, but have done well to progress, knocking out Richmond (because, well Richmond), and a depleted Swine outfit. Their decision to rest half the team in round 23 has looked pretty good, though that's now a while back. They're the first club to make a Prelim from eighth spot, but were popular pre-season as a team to watch (unlike the Eagles), and may not be a complete surprise to be playing this weekend.

Matchups

There's one matchup everyone's talking about. Todd Goldstein, the league's most resilient and the AA ruckman up against Nic Naitanui (who wasn't given an AA guernsey surprisingly), who's probably the most dynamic tall player in the game. Goldstein certainly had the better of Nat in the Hobart Hurricane, but Nic Nat has been in pretty impressive form. This clash will be pivotal to the game - if Naitanui (and Sinclair) can edge this, the Eagles are a long way toward victory.

The return of Matt Priddis and Chris Masten really strengthens the Eagles midfield (though I'd guess Masten as a likely green vest candidate). A much maligned outfit before the start of the season, it garnered two AA selections in Priddis and Andrew Gaff, and with Shuey and Hutchings in pretty good form, it's actually now one of the most impressive running brigades in the land. The Roos haven't perhaps been as polished this year, but they have the experience of 400 gamer Brent Harvey, and impressive runners in Andrew Swallow, Jack Ziebell and Ben Cunnington - not a shabby bunch at all.

North will join a batch of clubs who've tried to exploit the Eagles defence this year (Adelaide are the only ones who've really succeeded), and with Jarrad Waite and Drew Petrie in solid form, they have talls to challenge the Eagles. But you can't argue with the numbers - it's been one of the most miserly all year, and will want to keep that going. The form of McGovern, Will Schofield, Brad Sheppard and Sharrod Wellingham - and of course captain Shannon Hurn have been exemplary all year.

At the other end, the Eagles have one of the top two offences, with the talents of Josh Kennedy, Mark LeCras, Jack Darling and Josh Hill all ready to fire. Add in Jamie Cripps, and it's a forward line that few teams have been able to stop - there's a reason the Eagles finished the home and away in second spot, and this group will really challenge North's defensive unit.

Recent Meetings

North Melbourne are currently the only team the Eagles haven't as yet beaten in 2015 - the home and away clash was played in a massive wind storm at Bellerive in Hobart - what you can read into that game given the conditions is unknown.
2015, Round 10 Bellerive
North Melbourne 4.4 5.4 9.6 13.7 (85)
West Coast 1.4 5.11 7.12 10.15 (75)
Sun 7th Jun 2015 North Melbourne by 10

2014, Round 11 Subiaco Oval
North Melbourne 4.0 6.6 10.9 12.10 (82)
West Coast 3.3 3.4 4.6 6.8 (44)
Sun 1st Jun 2014 North Melbourne by 38

2013, Round 8 Subiaco Oval
West Coast 3.2 4.9 8.14 12.18 (90)
North Melbourne 6.1 7.4 10.6 13.10 (88)
Fri 17th May 2013 West Coast by 2


Head to Head


Overall: West Coast 24 North Melbourne 21 Draws 0
At Subiaco Oval West Coast 12 North Melbourne 5 Draws 0

West Coast biggest win: 96 points; West Coast 24.18 (162) d North Melbourne 9.12 (66) at Subiaco Oval, 2012, Elimination Final
North Melbourne biggest win: 62 points; North Melbourne 15.16 (106) d West Coast 7.2 (44) at Princes Park, 1995, Round 18


Other Matches


Summary

North would be happy to get this far - but want to go further, and will take the Bellerive clash as hope. But it's a long way from playing a game mid-season at a venue where the Eagles have had to take two planes, in conditions that were appalling for good footy, to this game, scheduled for fine weather on the Eagles home ground in September.

The Eagles have taken on every challenge thrown at them this year - looking gone for all money after round three, there's a chance to play off for the Premiership Cup next week if this match can be won. And this Eagles team looks like they're not going to let this chance slip away.

Prediction: West Coast by 22 points.



 
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