WHERE: Domain Stadium, Thursday, June 15, 6.10pm AWST
THE LAST FIVE
R7, 2016: Geelong 18.15 (123) def West Coast 12.7 (79) at Simonds Stadium
R9, 2015: West Coast 16.24 (120) def Geelong 10.4 (83) at Domain Stadium
R4, 2014: Geelong 16.11 (107) def West Coast 4.8 (32) at Simonds Stadium
R21, 2013: Geelong 16.11 (107) def West Coast Coast 6.5 (41) at Domain Stadium
R20, 2012: West Coast 16.6 (102) def Geelong 15.7 (97) at Domain Stadium
You have to go all the way back to 2014 to find the last time West Coast lost four games in a row; however, a loss to Geelong on Thursday night would see the Eagles do just that. Much of the Eagles’ poor form has started in the midfield, sitting a lowly 16th in the competition for contested possession, and it is clear West Coast lacks a hard edge around the contest. Unfortunately, things do not get easier against the Cats, who are ranked 4th for contested possession.
Tom Hawkins played Matt Crouch a little bit of chin music last week; apparently, Matt Crouch loves to dance, going down like the British pound after an election. Hawkins will miss Thursday’s game through suspension, leaving Harry Taylor to shoulder the load up forward. For the Eagles, their hopes seem to hinge on Josh Kennedy’s calf.
A win for the Cats on Thursday would make it two from two in the west this season, cementing them as a genuine flag contender. If the Eagles lose, it may be time to put the cue in the rack for 2017 and start blooding some youth.
1. West Coast has dropped outside of the top 8 for the first time this season. For the Cats, if they can snare a win on Thursday, they will join Adelaide and GWS on top of the AFL ladder.
2. The Cats have been on a pressure mission in recent weeks, averaging 100.3 tackles per game across their last three games. The Eagles, well, 63 tackles per game simply is not the type of pressure that wins games at AFL level.
3. West Coast lost the contested possession count again last week. Eagles fans are expecting a response, but it is really unclear whether they have the personnel to do it.
4. Steven Motlop starred for the Cats last time out against the Eagles, booting four goals. While Motlop is not having his best season in recent memory, his pace should worry the sluggish West Coast midfield and tall defenders.
5. While Josh Kennedy races the clock to be fit for Thursday night, the Cats will be without human-sized baby Tom Hawkins, who will miss the round 13 clash through suspension.
MOST AT STAKE FOR… Matt Priddis.
Following the news that Priddis has signed a one-year contract extension with the Eagles this week, the 32-year-old will be looking to prove to a frustrated fan base that he can still get the job done. Dangerfield, Selwood, and Duncan should keep the Brownlow medallist busy for most of the night.
TIP: West Coast by 1.
SECOND TIP: Jack Darling falls over a lot.