WHERE: Domain Stadium, Saturday, June 24, 5.40pm AWST
THE LAST FIVE
R18, 2016: West Coast 10.6 (66) def Melbourne 8.12 (60) at Domain Stadium
R14, 2015: West Coast 16.18 (114) def Melbourne 9.6 (60) at TIO Stadium
R22, 2014: West Coast 18.11 (119) def Melbourne 8.5 (53) at Domain Stadium
R2, 2014: West Coast 18.15 (123) def Melbourne 4.6 (30) at the MCG
R3, 2013: West Coast 27.15 (177) def Melbourne 13.5 (83) at the MCG
The Eagles have been lacking in two key areas this season: pressure and repeat entries into their forward 50. A season-high 93 tackles against the Cats last Thursday saw West Coast set a new benchmark. If they can bring the same level of intensity around the contest against Melbourne, the Dees should be in for more Domain Stadium pain.
Melbourne made the Bulldogs look ordinary in round 13. The Demon’s everyman-style midfield works hard just about every week, with skill errors letting them down in recent years. Smooth ball use and clean finishing in front of goal will be the keys to the Demon’s hopes in the west.
Inaccuracy almost cost the Eagles last week, kicking a miserable 11.17 in their 13-point win over the Cats. On the other hand, Melbourne is ranked number one in the competition in front of the big sticks this season.
1. When it comes to West Coast and Melbourne, only one word comes to mind: domination. The Eagles have been on a tear against the Demons, winning the last nine contests between the teams.
2. With 31 hit-outs, 15 touches, and seven tackles, Nathan Vardy had easily his best performance for West Coast last week against his old club. The Eagles will be relying heavily on Vardy to provide a contest against Max Gawn.
3. Minus a small blip against GWS, Domain Stadium continues to be a fortress for the Eagles this season. For Melbourne, well, they have not tasted victory at the venue since round 11 in 2004.
4. Despite winning the inside-50 count 66-37 in round 18 last year, Melbourne somehow managed only four more scoring shots and lost a game they should have won. Who will the Demons look to up forward this week? Christian Petracca’s name comes to mind.
5. Nathan Jones, Melbourne’s co-captain and spiritual leader, will miss the round 14 clash with a quad injury. Jones’ absence for the next month should be somewhat softened by the return of dominant ruckman Max Gawn.
MOST AT STAKE FOR… Nathan Vardy.
West Coast fans got a look at exactly what Nathan Vardy could be against the Cats. If fit, Vardy’s upside is huge, and the Eagles may have made one of the best decisions in the last five years. With Scott Lycett edging closer to a return, the challenge for Vardy now is to back up his stellar performance against Max Gawn on Saturday night, giving Adam Simpson no choice but to keep him in the 22.
TIP: West Coast by 14.
SECOND TIP: Matt Priddis lays 15 tackles.