AFL Round 22 Preview: GWS v West Coast

WHERE: Spotless Stadium, Saturday, August 19, 2.35pm AWST

THE LAST FIVE
R10, 2017: GWS 14.14 (98) def West Coast 14.6 (90) at Domain Stadium
R21, 2016: West Coast 14.13 (97) def GWS 14.12 (96) at Spotless Stadium
R5, 2015: West Coast 18.12 (120) def GWS 4.9 (33) at Domain Stadium
R8, 2014: West Coast 30.8 (188) def GWS 12.5 (77) at Domain Stadium
R9, 2013: West Coast 23.17 (155) def GWS 8.7 (55) at Spotless Stadium

OVERVIEW

Following an unconvincing win against the Blues last Saturday night, the Eagles find themselves back in the top 8. However, they’ll need to win at least one of their last two games to secure a finals birth. Unfortunately for Adam Simpson’s men, they’ll have to go through both GWS and Adelaide to do so.

The last time these two teams met at Spotless Stadium was one of the greatest finishes in football history, with Nic Naitanui stealing victory with the last kick of the game. The Eagles may need another miracle to get over the top of a hot GWS team away from home.

Toby Greene was dynamic against the Eagles in round 10. The fiery forward narrowly avoided suspension this week, and the Eagles look set to get under his skin on Saturday.

TALKING POINTS

1. At 61%, West Coast is ranked second for time in front this season, only Adelaide at 63% has held the lead for longer. It may be a painful statistic for West Coast fans, but the silver lining is that the Eagles are clearly not too far off from getting things right.

2. Luke Shuey was incredible in the Eagles’ last win over GWS, amassing 38 touches, 13 clearances, six tackles, six inside-50s and two crucial goals. They’ll need another huge performance from the reigning John Worsfold Medallist.

3. Back in round 10, GWS managed their first ever win over West Coast. It was an ugly day for the Eagles, losing Josh Kennedy to a calf injury and getting smashed 54-31 in the clearances.

4. While there’s much speculation surrounding Josh Kelly’s future, his form is undeniable. The talented midfielder had a day out against the Eagles in round 10, collecting 29 touches, six tackles, seven clearances and a goal. Will Mark Hutchings go to Josh Kelly?

5. The Giants are ranked number one in the AFL for clearances, with an average of 24.9 per game. On the other hand, the Eagles average just 36.4 in that area. The return of Shane Mumford should only hurt the Eagles cause.

MOST AT STAKE FOR… Nathan Vardy.

Shane Mumford is one of the AFL’s most feared big men. Adam Simpson will be looking for a strong contest from Nathan Vardy in the ruck. Vardy can’t compete with Mumford in the strength department, but he can make him accountable by running him around the ground all day.

TIP: West Coast by 1.

SECOND TIP: The Eagles win with the last kick of the day.

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