Eagles Set To Swoop On Downcast Dees

Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au/Daniel Wilkins
Chris Masten starred for the Eagles last weekend. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au/Daniel Wilkins
Last Five Meetings

Round 2, 2012 – West Coast Eagles 166 d Melbourne Demons 58
Round 21, 2011 West Coast Eagles 110 d Melbourne Demons 62
Round 6, 2011 – West Coast Eagles 106 d Melbourne Demons 52
Round 8, 2010 – West Coast 75 d Melbourne Demons 46
Round 14, 2009 – Melbourne Demons 112 d West Coast Eagles 92


Form

    Rd 1    Rd 2   
West Coast   L  L
Melbourne  L  L


Melbourne lost its CEO, Cameron Schwab, on Tuesday. Unfortunately this team has become too accustomed to losing other things; games, namely, over the past few seasons. When you lose your first two games by a total of 227 points, something is seriously wrong, and coach Mark Neeld must be looking over his back after president Don McLardy gave him the dreaded vote of confidence.

The Eagles have flogged the Demons the past three times they’ve met, but recent history aside, rounds one and two this season suggest this contest will be little more than a walk in the park for a West Coast side which could do with a ‘gimme’ game after a tough start to the season. The Eagles have been boosted by the inclusion of Daniel Kerr for his first game of the season, while Mark LeCras comes back in after missing just one game due to a broken arm.

As for Melbourne, the way they’re going it doesn’t really matter which squad Neeld puts on the paddock. The 148-point loss to Essendon smacked of a team completely bereft of confidence and for the most part, one that lacks the ability to compete at AFL level. Last year they lost eight games by 50 points or more, and their opponents have easily covered that in both clashes this season. Four times in their last 30 games the Dees have been hammered by over 100 points. To put it in perspective, the Gold Coast Suns have only gone down by a losing margin of 100 or more twice in the same period. The Demons have made a host of changes with Jack Watts the most notable omission.


Key Men

(Eagles) Chris Masten – He took a while to live up to the billing that comes with being a No. 3 draft pick, but Chris Masten finally looks like he’s becoming the ball-winner most good judges expected him to be. He was a vastly improved player in 2012 and he outstanding in a losing effort against the Hawks on Sunday picking up 33 touches.

(Swans) Mark Jamar – Seriously, what has happened to this guy? In 2010 he was an All-Australian and even last season there was plenty of chat that a couple of top clubs were interested in the free agent before he re-signed with the Demons. Last season he had the fewest disposals per game of anyone in the AFL who played at least half the season, and his tap work is nowhere near what it was in 2010. He kicked just one goal for the entire year, so he’s not even providing an option when resting up forward. A couple of years ago he absolutely dominated Nic Naitanui in a match, which resulted in the latter going back to the WAFL for a couple of weeks. He only has Dean Cox to contend with on Saturday, and he’ll need to do all he can to give Melbourne’s inexperienced midfield first use of the ball.


Prediction

It’s hard not to imagine Melbourne putting in a better effort than they did against Essendon, but I said that after the round one annihilation by Port Adelaide, and look what happened. The Eagles cantered to a 108-point victory last time they played the Demons, and Melbourne has little more going for it other than home ground advantage this time around. It’s simply a case of by how much? Bring on the Giants vs Demons battle next weekend. Eagles by 89 points

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