AFL Round 8 Preview: West Coast v Western Bulldogs

WHERE: Domain Stadium, Friday, May 12, 6.10pm AWST

THE LAST FIVE
2EF, 2016: Western Bulldogs 14.15 (99) def West Coast 7.10 (52) at Domain Stadium
R11, 2016: Western Bulldogs 12.11 (83) def West Coast 11.9 (75) at Etihad Stadium
R21, 2015: West Coast 25.12 (162) def Western Bulldogs 13.7 (85) at Domain Stadium
R1, 2015: Western Bulldogs 14.13 (97) def West Coast 14.3 (87) at Etihad Stadium
R1, 2014: West Coast 21.8 (134) def Western Bulldogs 11.3 (69) at Domain Stadium

OVERVIEW

If there is one thing the Eagles are not used to, it is losing games of footy at home. If there is one thing they are really not used to, it is losing finals games at home. Before their shambolic loss to the Bulldogs in last year’s elimination final, West Coast had won nine of 12 finals games at Domain Stadium, with an average winning margin of 35 points.

While the Eagles and Bulldogs sit fourth and fifth on the AFL ladder, respectively, both teams would admit that they are not quite playing their best footy.

Traditionally, West Coast is one of the highest scoring teams in the competition. In 2017, however, they are ranked just eighth for offence. The Eagles should win the midfield battle, with the Dogs ranked dead last in the league for centre clearances, averaging just 10.9 per game.

If last week was any indication, the competition is as close as it has ever been. Friday night should be no different, as the Dogs and Eagles battle in this week’s match of the round.

TALKING POINTS

1. Jonathan Giles and Nathan Vardy were embarrassed in the ruck by Patty Ryder last week, resulting in Giles being dropped. If Tom Campbell misses again for the Dogs, it will be interesting to see how Vardy and Fraser McInnes  go against a team without a ruckman.

2. The Dogs will be without both Jake Stringer and Josh Dunkley for the round eight clash. For the Eagles, Liam Duggan should be available to make a return after missing last week with a cork.

3. Caleb Daniel ran riot with 33 touches last time out against West Coast. While Daniel might look like a giant baby running around on an AFL field, the Eagles will surely put some time into stemming his influence.

4. While the Dogs may have embarrassed West Coast last time they met, Domain Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for them in the past, losing four of their past five by over 10 goals.

5. Luke Shuey has continued on from his blistering form in 2016 which saw him claim his first John  Worsfold Medal. Seven games into 2017, Shuey sits 19th in the Schick AFL Player Ratings, just one spot behind teammate Matt Priddis.

MOST AT STAKE FOR… Elliot Yeo.

In our season preview, Elliot Yeo was our player to watch in 2017. So far this season, Yeo is averaging 25 disposals and 9.7 marks per game. Yeo is contracted with the Eagles until the end of the 2018 season. If he can continue his blistering form until then, he can expect his bank balance to grow significantly in 2019.

TIP: West Coast by 13.

SECOND TIP: Elliot Yeo solidifies himself as a genuine superstar.

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