West Coast v Geelong

Source: Hearald Sun/heraldsun.com.au
Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Having lost three of their past four matches, West Coast  will be looking to get their season back on track when they host Geelong  at Patersons Stadium on Friday night. Sandwiched between defeats to derby rivals Fremantle and premiership contenders Adelaide was a 98 point victory over the Lions, so there is still some cause for optimism in the West. Having missed last week’s derby through suspension, skipper and key defender Darren Glass returns for this crucial clash, while Andrew Embley could also return after sitting out since round two with a shoulder injury.

While West Coast has stumbled in the past month, Geelong continues to go from strength to strength. The reigning premiers have won five of their past six matches and registered a thrilling two point win over flag favourites Hawthorn last week. Despite only being sixth on the competition ladder, the Cats are in ominous form and will have all of the sides ahead of them looking over their shoulder.

Where It Will be Won – It is no coincidence that Geelong’s improved form has coincided with their ability to win contested possessions in recent matches. After collecting more hardball gets than their opponents just once in the opening eleven rounds, the Cats have won the contested possessions in five of their last six matches. Skipper Joel Selwood  is having another stellar year in the midfield and is being ably supported by Steve Johnson  and James Kelly .

West Coast has been outdone at the clearances in each of their past four matches and must compete with the Cats in this area to give themselves the best possible chance of winning this match. In Matt Priddis  and Daniel Kerr , they have players that are more than capable of dominating in the midfield.

Prediction – West Coast will be smarting from their loss to Fremantle last week and desperately need a win to stay in the hunt for a top four spot. With Glass and Embley returning to bolster their defence, the Eagles can bring Geelong’s recent run to a halt. West Coast 1-39

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