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Eagles still need to prove themselves

Matt Rosa and Scott Selwood of the Eagles celebrate after defeating the Blues.

Matt Rosa and Scott Selwood of the Eagles celebrate after defeating the Blues. Photo: Getty Images

IT'S not often a team arrives at the midway point of an AFL season on top of the ladder having won nine games out of 11, but still not mustering much popular support for its premiership chances.

Call it the tyranny of distance or plain ignorance, but you won't find too many pundits in this town giving West Coast much of a flag chance.

Indeed, there's even some scepticism in Perth despite the win-loss record, as the Eagles have a particularly tough month leading into the finals.

John Worsfold's team is making a habit of defying the doubters, though. It did right through last year, turning a wooden spoon into a top-four finish, and in 2012 has survived a string of injuries to pivotal players such as Mark LeCras, Mark Nicoski, Josh Kennedy and Andrew Embley.

What it needs to prove now is that it can produce its best in a road trip to a ground that has proved a graveyard, and against the sustained pressure of the competition's best. Saturday's clash with Collingwood will be the perfect litmus test on both counts.

The Eagles took on the Pies on the 'G twice last year and came up short, the first time, in round 10, comfortably so, but had bridged the gap significantly by the qualifying final, when they were within eight points deep into time-on.

Their last appearance on the ground where the flag must be won came a fortnight later, a preliminary final belting at the hands of Geelong, their eighth defeat in nine outings there.

There are legitimate queries about the calibre of West Coast's wins so far, its best scalp being a narrow victory at home over Hawthorn. It copped a pasting at Etihad against Essendon, and is yet to play the Magpies, Adelaide or Sydney.

But where Worsfold's team might have been sold a bit short is its depth and evenness. That missing quartet all number among the Eagles' best handful of players. That they've been able to cover their absence so effectively speaks volumes to the quality of the overall list.

There's also a balance about this version of West Coast that might well exceed its grand final outfits of 2005-06. While rich in midfield star quality, they had obvious weaknesses, particularly in attack.

Big men Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui are this year's headlines, but the workmanlike efforts of Matt Priddis, Scott Selwood and Matt Rosa are not a lot less important, while names such as Gaff, Shuey and Masten are still seeping into the consciousness of much of the football world. That's often a slow process, but one that you can expect to be speeded up significantly should the Eagles land a scalp as notable as Collingwood's 3000 kilometres from home.


Crows' forward set-up continues to threaten and midfield as prolific as ever, but would want to tighten up defensively before September.

Made the most of early opportunities, but Lions faded badly after half-time. Young talent impressing, Zorko the latest to excite.

Nothing wrong with the Blues' effort the last two weeks, but failure to convert to wins will hurt with Hawks and Pies to come after bye.

Magpies rested and tanned after bye and Port Douglas training camp, will need to be switched on again for MCG clash with ladder leader.

Bye well-timed for Bombers given last two losses and largely flat performance. Big challenge in Perth given shocking record there and loss of speedster Davey.

Last win arguably Dockers' best of the season, but with only six not much room for error now, starting this week at home against Essendon.

Cats keep winning without overly impressing, but will need to have found their best post-break, with tough one against Swans at SCG.

From rock-bottom to within a kick of first win, Saturday night was a good effort from Suns, skipper Ablett outstanding again. Must keep it up now.

New kid continues to impress, pushed potential finalist all the way. Plenty of pluck about the Giants, Cameron looking a potential superstar.

Bit scratchy early, but Hawks turned it on when it counted. Go to break with form building nicely, Burgoyne on song and Buddy just being Buddy.

Demons' form improved markedly leading up to the bye with first win and long competitive spell against Collingwood. Must make it two against Giants.

Roos got the points against Gold Coast, but that was about all, skills poor and conversion shocking. Still too much left to veterans Harvey and Petrie.

Power kept plugging away, but lacked class and nous to pull off the upset away from home. Broadbent and Cornes keeping the flag flying.

Could have been massively embarrassed by Giants, but steadied enough at the death to hang on. Midfield stars saved day for Tigers.

Brave comeback by Saints on hostile turf, but narrow losses no comfort with race for eighth spot so tight. Can reflect on what's required with week's spell.

Turned around slump in great fortnight before bye. Swans definite top four chance; would press claims with win at home over Geelong.

Not in peak of form of late, but still getting the job done, best possible test of flag claims this week with game against Pies at MCG.

Fair response coming off break and morale-sapping previous smashing. Old hands great and young guns encouraging.

10 comments so far

  • Fremantle's best win of the year was against Richmond? What about beating last year's premier in Geelong? What about beating St Kilda at Etihad? Surely they rank above beating a team that sits right next to you on the ladder... well outside the 8!

    Date and time
    June 18, 2012, 9:40AM
    • They didn't beat last year's premier in Geelong, they beat them in Perth. Their last win was their best win because it was their first on the MCG since 2007.

      Date and time
      June 18, 2012, 12:10PM
  • THE EAGLES ARE OVERRATED!!!!!! West Coast receives an unhealthy, almost illegal advantage from the umpires being intimidated by the Perth crowds. Thursday nights game was a good example of this. 50/50 decisions are awarded in favor of the home team almost every time. Interesting that West Coast lost to Brisbane in Brisbane. Without the four goal advantage from the umpires the eagle lost to Brisbane. Good thing grand finals aren't played in Perth.

    Date and time
    June 18, 2012, 9:52AM
    • And this doesn't happen in Melbourne when Carlton plays West Coast?

      Stop having a whinge and get over it.

      Carlton aren't any good anyway.

      Date and time
      June 18, 2012, 10:40AM
    • Ever watched a Carlton game in Victoria with a skeptical eye? Against GWS 4 dropped balls in tackles within the first 15 minutes. Happens every week in Carlton games, they get away with murder but no one comments!

      Umpiring of WCE / Freo games outside of Victoria have always been one sided but this goes unnoticed by the biased Victorian media. Did you watch the Brisbane game? On 3 occasion the commentators queried decision that went in Brisbane's favor. Reality is there will always be a few every week that are questioned, the umpires to a pretty good job if that's how many they are getting queried about.

      There were 2 iffy decisions on Thursdays game. The Priddis v Judd one shouldn't have been 50 but in saying that Cox would kick that 9/10 so it wouldn't of mattered.

      In saying all this, WCE aren't playing super footy, but they are still winning games and on top.

      Date and time
      June 18, 2012, 11:19AM
  • The reason they aren't being rated is that they have a soft draw - only play two of last year's finalists twice, the rest they pretty much all play at home in WA - and a massive advantage playing at home.

    Date and time
    June 18, 2012, 10:13AM
    • "the rest they pretty much all play at home in WA"...

      travel every other week you git.

      Date and time
      June 18, 2012, 11:08AM
    • Oh, No, here we go again. Next thing the Melbournites will be saying the West Coast Eagles are not human!

      Date and time
      June 18, 2012, 11:34AM
  • This round will be a big test for the Weagles. I hate to say it but Fat Eddie's flunkies are looking the team to beat in a very even season.

    Date and time
    June 18, 2012, 10:37AM
    • The Eagles pretty much have a ticket to the GF with the massive advantage they have at home. I can't see them losing a game at home this year.
      I just hope that Hawthorn can roll them on the big day in September!

      The Real World
      Date and time
      June 18, 2012, 10:38AM

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      AFL 2016

      Round 1
      Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
      RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
      Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
      MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
      GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
      NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
      SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
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      WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
      PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
      WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
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      GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
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      Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
      COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
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      ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
      ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
      BRI vs NTH 16:35G
      STK vs WBU 19:25ES
      FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
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      GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
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      Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
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      RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
      SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
      GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
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      NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
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      Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
      WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
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      BRI vs GCF 16:35G
      CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
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      GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
      COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
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      Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
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      GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
      WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
      PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
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      FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
      MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
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      Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
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      ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
      GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
      RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
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      BRI vs SYD 13:10G
      CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
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      Round 7
      Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
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      COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
      GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
      SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
      GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
      WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
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      Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
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      Round 9
      Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
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      COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
      GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
      PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
      NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
      FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
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      GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
      STK vs ESS 16:40ES
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      Round 10
      Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
      Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
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      MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
      STK vs FRE 16:35ES
      ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
      ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
      COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
      WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
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      Round 11
      Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
      Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
      CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
      GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
      GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
      FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
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      WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
      ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
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      Round 12
      Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
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      PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
      BRI vs FRE 16:35G
      GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
      WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
      Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      STK vs CAR 13:10ES
      RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
      GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
      Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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      Round 13
      Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
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      BRI vs WCE 13:40G
      FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
      WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
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      SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
      ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
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      Round 14
      Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
      COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
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      RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
      GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
      STK vs GEE 19:25ES
      Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
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      Round 15
      Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
      WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
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      PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
      GCF vs STK 13:40MS
      SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
      CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
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      MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
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      Round 16
      Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
      PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
      Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
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      GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
      GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
      WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
      MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
      Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
      WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
      ESS vs STK 16:40ES
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      Round 17
      Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
      Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
      FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
      NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
      WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
      ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
      STK vs MEL 15:20ES
      BRI vs GWS 16:40G
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      Round 18
      Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
      COL vs NTH 19:50ES
      Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
      GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
      WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
      WBU vs STK 19:25ES
      GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
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      ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
      HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
      PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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      Round 19
      Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
      GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
      Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
      HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
      COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
      BRI vs PTA 19:25G
      NTH vs STK 19:25ES
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      MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
      FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
      ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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      Round 20
      Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
      RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
      Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
      SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
      MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
      GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
      WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
      ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
      GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
      FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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      Round 21
      Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
      WBU vs COL 19:50ES
      Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
      BRI vs CAR 13:45G
      HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
      GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
      STK vs SYD 19:25ES
      PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
      ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
      RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
      FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
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      Round 22
      Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
      WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
      Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
      NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
      RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
      GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
      COL vs GCF 19:25ES
      PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
      Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
      CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
      BRI vs GEE 15:20G
      ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
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      Round 23
      Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
      HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
      STK vs BRI 12:00ES
      ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
      GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
      SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
      NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
      GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
      ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
      FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
      View All Fixtures
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      Team P W L D % Pts
      Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
      Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
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