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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 2015

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      MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
      SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
      BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
      WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
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      STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
      ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
      FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
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      RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
      GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
      COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
      GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
      PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
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      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
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      CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
      ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
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      BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
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      WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
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      RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
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      STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
      ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
      GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
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      FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
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      GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
      WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
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      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
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      RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
      SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
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      MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
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      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
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      NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
      WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
      GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
      GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
      MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
      FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
      CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
      PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
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      Round 7
      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
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      ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
      HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
      CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
      SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
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      WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
      RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
      BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
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      STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
      GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
      GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
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      FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
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      MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
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      Round 9
      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
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      HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
      MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
      WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
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      ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
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      COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
      WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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      Round 10
      Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
      Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
      GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
      ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
      PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
      Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
      NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
      STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
      Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
      MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
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      Round 11
      Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
      Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
      WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
      NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
      Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
      STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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      Round 12
      Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
      ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
      Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
      RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
      Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
      GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
      WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
      Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
      GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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      Round 13
      Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
      FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
      Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
      SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
      Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
      HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
      BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
      STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
      Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
      CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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      Round 14
      Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
      SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
      Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
      COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
      Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
      GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
      WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
      MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
      Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
      ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
      FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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      Round 15
      Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
      PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
      Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
      RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
      Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
      ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
      WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
      NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
      WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
      Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
      HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
      BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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      Round 16
      Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
      NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
      Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
      GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
      GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
      COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
      SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
      FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
      Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
      MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
      PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
      STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
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      Round 17
      Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
      CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
      Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
      GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
      ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
      RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
      ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
      BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
      Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
      WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
      MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
      WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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      Round 18
      Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
      HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
      Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
      COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
      SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
      CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
      GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
      Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
      PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
      ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
      FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
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      Round 19
      Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
      Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
      COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
      WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
      BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
      GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
      WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
      Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
      MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
      GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
      STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
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      Round 20
      Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
      SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
      Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
      ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
      NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
      PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
      GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
      BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
      Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
      RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
      WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
      FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
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      Round 21
      Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
      HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
      Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
      COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
      GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
      GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
      STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
      ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
      Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
      NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
      CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
      WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
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      Round 22
      Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
      Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
      GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
      HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
      NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
      ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
      GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
      Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
      STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
      FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
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      Round 23
      Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
      RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
      Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
      GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
      BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
      PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
      HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
      SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
      WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
      Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
      MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
      COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
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      Round 24
      Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
      WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
      Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
      FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
      WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
      Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
      RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
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      Round 25
      Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
      HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
      Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
      SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
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      Round 26
      Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
      FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
      Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
      WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
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      Round 27
      Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
      HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      AFL 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D % Pts
      Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
      West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
      Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
      Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
      Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
      Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
      Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
      North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
      View all

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