I think fans from both teams have a reason to be nervous leading into the Round 1 game between West Coast and the Bulldogs in Melbourne.
The Bulldogs fans will be nervous after being skinned alive in round 9 last year when the Eagles wholloped them, Josh Kennedy kicking more goals off his own boot then the whole Bulldog team collectively. While they put up a bigger fight in round 19, they still went down by 8 points.
Eagles supporters will be hoping they have someone that can fill the massive void left in the forward line by key injuries to a number of players in the pre-season. LeCras wont see a match until 2013, Nicoski is out with a hamstring problem until at least the last few matches of the season, and Josh Kennedy, while named on the extended bench, is a little underdone after an foot injury.
It’s hard to predict how hard these injuries have affected the team, if at all, and whether the Eagles can continue on their rise from bottom feeders in 2010 to potential premiership contenders this year. Josh Hill has been dubbed the forward-line fix-all for the opening round against his old team, but in his first match for a new club, the pressure of being at his old home ground might mean more will be expected of Quinten Lynch and Nic Naitanui.
I think that the Eagles will still be able to pressure the doggies into a close game, especially since the home team are dealing with a new coach, but i think when all is said and done, the home team might just pip them at the post.
My prediction: Western Bulldogs by 3.