This is a game that John Worsfold would have marked as a win at the start of the season. But that was before the injuries hit.
The team’s injury crisis showed its true colours last week when, despite brave wins in previous weeks, the Eagles seemed to collapse under the Essendon pressure and lost the game by more than 10 goals. Now the Round 8 win against St Kilda is looking more and more perilous for the Eagles.
The Saints will be riding a wave of massive confidence after beating Carlton on Monday night, a game nobody expected them to win. Fast foward to this afternoon, and it is again a game nobody expects them to win, but they could exploit the Eagles’ injuries and manage to break a long run of homeground wins for West Coast.
The Eagles need to make sure their midfield feeds the few forwards they have left efficiently. The better the midfield use the ball, the more chance their forwards have of being able to score a goal, valuable assets when the majority of your best forwards are on the sidelines. They also need to exploit the short break and long trip St Kilda have had to take. If they run them off their feet early, they’re a chance of bringing the game home.
To top it off, they could take a leaf out of the Dockers handbook. Most teams would tag the “big” players in Lenny Hayes and Nick Dal Santo, maybe even Brendon Goddard. The Dockers stopped Stephen Milne and Sam Fisher as opposed to the big midfielders, and the Saints never recovered.
This game will be all about playing smart football. I think the Eagles, playing for top spot, will be able to come over the top of a St Kilda team coming off a short break.
My prediction: West Coast by 10