Semi Final Preview: GWS v West Coast

WHERE: Spotless Stadium, Saturday, September 16, 5.25pm AWST

THE LAST FIVE
R22, 2017: GWS 12.9 (81) def West Coast 9.6 (60) at Spotless Stadium
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

OVERVIEW

2017 has been a season of fantastic games and close finishes, with none more enthralling than West Coast’s extra-time, after-the-siren victory over Port Adelaide on Saturday night. If the Eagles aim to keep their finals dream alive, they’ll need to recover well before another big interstate trip. Will those 10 extra minutes hurt the Eagles’ chances?

Season-ending injuries for Shane Mumford and Jeremy Cameron will force Leon Cameron’s hand at the selection table this week. Dawson Simpson is the obvious replacement for Mumford, but what will the Giants go for up forward? GWS were one-dimensional against the Crows, and if there’s one player who’s anything but one-dimensional, it’s Steve Johnson. Stevie J simply must play this week.

A straight-sets exit would be a disaster for GWS, but their premiership window isn’t closing anytime soon. For the Eagles, a premiership in 2017 would mean four-straight interstate wins on the trot, including their last two at their bogey ground, the MCG.

TALKING POINTS

1. The Eagles faded late against the Giants back in round 22, managing just 1.1 to the Giants’ 4.3 in the fourth quarter. If Saturday night was any indication, the Eagles may have solved their fade-out issues. Adam Simpson will be looking for another big effort down the stretch.

2. Eric Mackenzie’s fourth-quarter heroics against Port Adelaide reminded West Coast fans why he’s such a crucial cog in the Eagles’ machine. While Big Easy may have saved the day for West Coast, he can’t allow Jonathon Patton to get on top of him like Charlie Dixon did on Saturday night.

3. Josh Kelly tore the Eagles apart back in round 22. The star midfielder finished with 43 touches and goal in a best-on-ground performance. Will Adam Simpson give Mark Hutchings a run-with role on this time around?

4. In his last three games, Matt Priddis has averaged 28 touches, one goal and 8.3 tackles. A few more big performances like that and the Brownlow Medallist might just play himself out of retirement.

5. If Luke Shuey was underrated heading into last weekend, he certainly isn’t anymore. Following 32 touches, 11 tackles and two goals against Port, Shuey now sits at a career-best 15th in the Schick AFL Player Ratings.

MOST AT STAKE FOR… Elliot Yeo.

Elliott Yeo and Toby Greene went head to head in round 22. Yeo was superb, finishing with 30 touches and eight marks; however, Greene managed to get of the leash to snag three crucial goals. If Yeo can keep Greene off the scoreboard, West Coast will win this one comfortably.

TIP: West Coast by 13.

SECOND TIP: Mark Hutchings keeps Josh Kelly to under 20 touches.

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