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Round 9 Docklands
Sun, 21 May 2017 • 11:10 WST
West Coast Essenscum
8.16 (64) 19.11 (125)
Game Focus

Next Game

Round 10 Subiaco Oval
Sun, 28 May 2017 • 14:40 WST
West Coast v Greater Western Sydney
Game Focus


Injury List

Player Injury Weeks
Cripps Ankle test
Petrie* Hand test
Nelson Wrist test
Rioli Hamstring test
Watson Ankle 3
Lycett Shoulder 3
Tunbridge ACL 6
Naitanui ACL indef
Waterman Foot indef


AFL Ladder

Team P % Pts
1. Adelaide 9 135.1 28
2. GWS Giants 9 118.9 28
3. Geelong 9 117.6 24
4. West Coast 9 103.2 24
5. Fremantle 9 90.6 24
6. Port Adel. 8 150.8 20
7. Richmond 9 107.0 20
8. W. Bulldogs 9 103.7 20
9. St Kilda 9 103.1 20
10. Essenscum 9 99.2 20
11. Melbourne 9 108.6 16
12. Sydney 9 100.9 12
13. Coll'wood 9 94.5 12
14. North Melb. 9 94.5 12
15. Gold Coast 8 86.2 12
16. Carlton 9 78.0 12
17. Hawthorn 9 76.8 12
18. Brisbane 9 63.9 4


by Matt Quinn
25th March 2016
Footy returns, and this year we're hungry for the Eagles to go one better, and it all starts with a home game against the once-proud Lions of the North.




Squads

West Coast Ruck B Brad Sheppard (5)
Eric MacKenzie (16)
Sam Butler (26)
Brisbane Lions Ruck
Nic Naitanui (9)  F Tom Bell (7)
Josh Schache (23)
Josh Walker (14)
Stefan Martin (12)
Andrew Gaff (3)  HB Xavier Ellis (18)
Will Schofield (31)
Shannon Hurn (25)
Mitch Robinson (5)
Luke Shuey (13)  HF Pearce Hanley (11)
Daniel McStay (25)
Jonathan Freeman (34)
Tom Rockliff (38)
  C Jack Redden (8)
Matthew Priddis (11)
Elliot Yeo (6)
  C Ryan Lester (35)
Allen Christensen (3)
Lewis Taylor (28)
  HF Jamie Cripps (15)
Jeremy McGovern (20)
Jamie Bennell (44)
  HB Sam Mayes (32)
Harris Andrews (31)
Daniel Rich (10)
  F Mark LeCras (2)
Josh Kennedy (17)
Jack Darling (27)
  B Darcy Gardiner (27)
Daniel Merrett (21)
Marco Paparone (22)
West Coast Interchange Jackson Nelson (30), Scott Lycett (29), Josh Hill (33), Liam Duggan (14),  
Tom Cutler (26), Rohan Bewick (8), Ryan Bastinac (4), Ryan Harwood (2), Brisbane Lions Interchange


Weather

Chance of a shower
Maximum Temperature:27

Changes

The Eagles have a number of changes to the team that played in last year's Grand Final. Callum Sinclair and Matt Rosa are playing this weekend, but for Sydney and Gold Coast respectively, both moving on in the trade period last year, while GF emergrncy Scott Selwood is not yet available at Geelong (interestingly, former Eagle Ryan Davis, long out of the AFL, has also been named to play for the GC this weekend).

Closer to home, Sharrod Wellingham, Dom Sheed and Chris Masten are unavailable with injury, while Mark Hutchings starts the season in the WAFL.

Coming in to the team is ex-Lion and Eagles debutant Jack Redden, ruckman Scott Lycett (now the clear #2 ruck option with Sinclair's departure), fringe player Jamie Bennell, promising youngsters Liam Duggan and Jackson Nelson and of course the return of 2014 club champion Eric Mackenzie for his first game since doing a knee in the 2015 pre-season.

Injuries and Suspensions

Last year the Eagles started the season with injuries that devastated the backline in Mitch Brown and Eric Mackenzie. This year, Brown is again injured pre-season, but he's joined by a collection of midfielders, with Chris Masten out with an ankle injury, Lewis Jetta with a calf injury and Dom Sheed with a torn pectoral. Joining Brown from defence, Sharrod Wellingham will miss with a knee injury.

Brisbane's major out is Dayne Beams who will miss at least the first half of the season with a knee problem, and Dayne Zorko is out suspended.
Player Injury Weeks
Adamson* Hamstring test
Jetta Calf test
Wellingham Knee 4
Mutimer Hamstring 4-6
Tunbridge Back 4-6
Masten Ankle 6
Brown Finger 8
Sheed Pec 10
Waterman Glandular Fever indef
Cavka Foot/Retired seas


Lead up

The Eagles sent a team over to Adelaide for the first week of the NAB kick-to-kick that would charitably be described as experimental (less charitably as "we really don't care about this game in any way shape or form") that got smacked by 100 points, and were scratchy with a more standard team in a narrow win in the second week against the Gold Coast. In the final week it was the Eagles turn to smack a comically undermanned opposition, smashing the Bombers (now minus the Injected) by 105 points. So no way to read anything there at all.

Brisbane lost their opener to the cross-town Suns, then lost again in the third round to the other new boys in GWS. In the middle, their second clash against the Saints at Mackay was washed off the field by rainstorms from the remnants of Cyclone Winston that had earlier devastated Fiji.

Matchups

Last year's runners up versus last year's second last team - and no one is really expecting major changes in where these two teams stand for this weekend's game. Brisbane are trying to redevelop the entire club after a decade in the wilderness - and maybe with a few re-signings recently the bleeding of the playing squad might be going to stop.

Either way, that doesn't change much in this game. The Eagles midfield might be a bit lighter on than it was on Grand Final day, but it's still pretty strong with Matt Priddis leading the way alongside fellow AA Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey, with Nic Naitanui lending ruck service. The Lions' midfield isn't necessarily awful with Tom Rockliff, but Mitch Robinson, Allen Christensen and Ryan Bastinac don't quite hold up as well as the Eagles runners.

The Lions forward line equally doesn't quite induce fear. Rookie Josh Schache may well be a player of the future, but here he's debuting, and he's surrounded by a bunch of rookies, while the Eagles defense was ultra impressive before the return of sometime All Australian Eric MacKenzie.

One of the big questions at West Coast in 2016 will be where to best use Jeremy McGovern. He's been named as a key forward for this game, which is clear evidence that the Eagles are looking at a more diverse role for 2015's most improved player (and I reckon that could be an AFL wide accolade). Either way, he only strengthens a monster forward line led by Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy and veteran small forward Mark LeCras. Again, while Brisbane have some names that are solid players, they don't look to have the class to stand up to West Coast.

Essentially, looking at the lineups, it's hard to see anywhere where Brisbane have an advantage. The loss of Dayne Beams is a big one for the Lions as it leaves their midfield undermanned, and it's hard to see where the rest of their team is going to win.

Recent Meetings

West Coast have won every match against the Lions since 2013. Last year though, this clash in round four was the 'meh' match of the week, as everyone predicted this was one between two teams battling for spots in the bottom half dozen... it turned out to be the first of six on the trot for the Eagles, and twelve of thirteen, setting up season 2015. Last year, Brisbane were favourites (to be fair, at the Gabba). This year, things are different.
2015, Round 4 Gabba
West Coast 5.3 8.8 12.11 17.16 (118)
Brisbane Lions 1.1 4.4 5.9 9.11 (65)
Sun 26th Apr 2015 West Coast by 53

2014, Round 17 Gabba
West Coast 3.2 5.3 9.5 11.10 (76)
Brisbane Lions 1.1 4.3 6.6 9.10 (64)
Sat 12th Jul 2014 West Coast by 12


Head to Head


Overall: West Coast 18 Brisbane Lions 10 Draws 0
At Subiaco Oval West Coast 7 Brisbane Lions 3 Draws 0

West Coast biggest win: 98 points; West Coast 28.7 (175) d Brisbane Lions 12.5 (77) at Subiaco Oval, 2012, Round 18
Brisbane Lions biggest win: 100 points; Brisbane Lions 25.16 (166) d West Coast 9.12 (66) at Gabba, 1999, Round 17


Other Matches


Summary

There looks to be a massive class gap on every line in this game, with the Eagles coming out on top pretty much everywhere. Brisbane's best hope is that the Eagles come out scratchy - but given the Lions lost a match rained out in the pre-season it's not likely they are that well prepared for the start of the season either.

As long as the Eagles turn up ready for a proper game for premiership points, then this should be a step toward redeeming last year's unfortunate ending.

Prediction: West Coast by 55 points.



 
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