Eagles Look To Break Out Of Rut

Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au/Daniel Wilkins
Scott Selwood in a familiar position at the bottom of a pack. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au/Daniel Wilkins
Last Five Meetings

Round 1, 2012 – West Coast Eagles 136 d Western Bulldogs 87 (Etihad)
Round 19, 2011 – West Coast Eagles 103 d Western Bulldogs 95 (Etihad)
Round 9, 2011 – West Coast Eagles 175 d Western Bulldogs 52 (Patersons)
Round 13, 2010 – Western Bulldogs 119 d West Coast Eagles 59 (Patersons)
Round 19, 2009 – West Coast Eagles 102 d Western Bulldogs 97 (Etihad)


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3       Rd 4       Rd 5   
West Coast   L  L  W  L  L
Western Bulldogs   W  L  L  L  L

It’s hard to know what to make of West Coast at the moment. Amazingly the Eagles have already lost three games at Patersons Stadium – they had only lost a total of three there the previous two seasons – and John Worsfold’s side somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last weekend against Port Adelaide. Even in their only win to date, Melbourne, of all teams, managed to stick with the Eagles for a half of footy. The signs aren’t good in the west of the country.

Things aren’t a great deal better in the west of Melbourne, but at least the Bulldogs put up a fight against in-form Geelong in round 5. It’s fair to say the Cats never got out of second gear, and they didn’t really have to, but there was plenty of spirit in the Doggies’ effort. Mature-age recruit Brett Goodes is out due to suspension, which leaves the team with a very inexperienced backline.

The Eagles will be seriously boosted this week by the return of Nic Naitanui for his first game of the season, while Matt Rosa and Magpies recruit Sharrod Wellingham will also line up. It gives West Coast its most potent looking 22 of the season, although much of the interest will be on how the ins perform after long layoffs.


Key Men

(Eagles) Scott Selwood – He started out as a tagger but Scott Selwood is now a vital cog in West Coast’s midfield. He started slowly this season but has really hit his straps the past three weeks averaging 29 disposals, seven marks and a whopping ten tackles per game. The centre looks to be the only area where the young Bulldogs can compete with the Eagles, so Selwood’s pressure and ball-winning ability will be crucial.

(Bulldogs) Liam Jones – Lanky forward Liam Jones showed a ton of promise in 2011 but failed to build on that breakout season last year. He has the size and ability to take contested marks in the forward line, and twice so far this year he has kicked four goals in a game against Richmond and Geelong. The current ‘Dogs line-up is regularly going to struggle to kick big scores, so the more scoring output they get from the 22-year-old, the better.


Prediction

Much like Adelaide, you keep waiting for West Coast to run in to some form, but it just hasn’t happened so far in 2013. This is the start of a really soft run of games for the Eagles until they hit a tough patch starting with Hawthorn in round 13. John Worsfold’s team should realistically be on a sizeable winning run by then, but stranger things have happened. It would be mighty strange for the baby Bulldogs to get up in this one, though. Eagles by 46 points

Click here to bet on AFL Round 6 Matches