Game Day Round 9 - The Tim Kelly XXII vs The Kelly-less XXII - Sat 1/8 @ 6.10pm @ Shandong Gold Stadium

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Miguel Sanchez

Say hello!
Aug 10, 2006
37,498
38,920
Shandong Gold Stadium
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Royal Pines Eagles
Welcome to this preview of the much-anticipated grudge match between the team that didn't want Kelly (at least ahead of two promising key position players) and the team that didn't want to lose Kelly (at least without getting every single West Coast draft pick in return).

Aside from the Kelly storyline, there is plenty of history between these two sides. From the Eagles denying the Cats a drought-breaking premiership - twice - in the 1990s ...

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to the 54-point comeback at whatever Kardinia Park was being called in 2006 ...

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to Bomber Thompson tucking into a chicken schnitzel as his charges smashed us in 2008.

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Most recently, Geelong were the team that ended our premiership defence in last year's semi final, on their way to <checks notes> bowing out themselves the following week.

Recent form

The sleeping giant that is West Coast awoke with a bang last week, clubbing the Magpies as they attempted to climb the beanstalk that is Optus Stad... ok, this metaphor got away from me. Let's start again.

West Coast come into this clash on the back of what was easily their most impressive win of the season, cutting the Magpies to ribbons with some razor-sharp ball movement and near-unbelievable accuracy in front of goal. That win catapulted the Eagles to fifth spot on the ladder. Geelong are two spots ahead, having defeated Fremantle in a rousing game of water polo on Monday night.

Key battles

All eyes will be on the midfield duel between Kelly and co and the remnants of the on-ball brigade he left behind. Kelly had his best game as an Eagle against Collingwood, and Shuey showed he was refreshed after his injury-enforced layoff. Combining with Yeo (freshly exonerated by the infallible AFL Tribunal), Sheed, Gaff and Redden, they form an imposing unit that was fully on-song against the Pies. On the other side, Patrick "Call Me Mr President" Dangerfield has been left without many of his supporting cast, with Gary Ablett Junior unavailable for family reasons and skipper Joel "Brother of Adam and Scooter" Selwood looking unlikely to return this week. Couple that with the unavailability of the Cats' only two recognised rucks - Darcy Fort and Rhys Stanley - and you've got a recipe for a NicNat-inspired midfield domination.

Up forward for the Cats, the big Tomahawk (who also narrowly escaped suspension) kicked more goals than Freo and will undoubtedly be the focal point for their attack. Tom Barrass will likely get the job on Hawkins, but he has been up and down against the big forwards this year with Charlie Dixon and Matt Taberner getting hold of him at times. If McGovern is unavailable, Will Schofield may be recalled to help him out. The defence has otherwise been West Coast's most consistent line, with Brad Sheppard again in All-Australian form and the trio of Jackson Nelson, Tom Cole and Liam Duggan working beautifully together. They'll be required to mind Hawkins' supporting cast of Garry Rohan, Gryan "What kind of name is that?" Miers, Sam Simpson and co.

Down the other end, Josh Kennedy showed that rumours of his demise were greatly exaggerated with 11 goals in the last fortnight. He remains the spearhead of an attack that can be unpredictable with Darling, Allen, Waterman, Ryan, Cripps (although not so much this year) and even young Jarrod Cameron capable of bobbing up and kicking a bag. Geelong regained Tom Stewart last week but Harry Taylor is slowing and Blicavs may be required for ruck duties.

Team selection and likely line-ups

Eagles
B: Duggan, Barrass, Hurn
HB: Sheppard, Edwards, Cole
C: Sheed, Kelly, Gaff
HF: Cripps, Darling, Cameron
F: Waterman, Kennedy, Ryan
R: Naitanui, Yeo, Shuey
I: Nelson, Ainsworth, Allen, Ah Chee

McGovern missed last week with a thumb injury but will hopefully be right to return. If he's not, then his late replacement Rotham might get a reprieve or Schofield could get a recall. With a full midfield complement, Ainsworth filled in for injured forward Ah Chee but looked lost and would be the most likely to make way if Sneezy is back. There's rumours of other undisclosed injuries (that's unlike West Coast, I know) so we could see some more changes. Xavier O'Neill is close to a debut, as is the previously unlikely-seeming Nick Reid if there's a spot in the forward line. Bailey Williams continues to press for a debut in the ruck but Allen's efforts against Grundy last week suggest he'll be the backup for the foreseeable future.

(Edit: Edwards debuting in place of Rotham. Gov didn’t get up. Nor did Redden (quad), so Ainsworth holds his spot while Ah Chee returns from injury)

Geelong
B: O'Connor, Blicavs, Kolodjashnij
HB: Henry, Taylor, Stewart
C: Menegola, Dangerfield, Fogarty
HF: Duncan, Hawkins, Miers
F: Simpson, Rohan, Close
R: Ratugolea, Guthrie, Parfitt
I: Henderson, Bews, Constable, Tuohy

Jack Steven is likely to come back in to give the midfield a boost, with Chris "Not Brad" Scott all but ruling out Selwood today. Key forward Nathan Kreuger is firming for a debut, probably at the expense of Lachie Henderson (who I actually thought was delisted last year) and would provide Hawkins with a foil. Charlie Constable could be the man to make way for Steven although Lachie Fogarty (i.e. the guy the Cats drafted ahead of Kelly, but no one talks about that) would also be in the gun. Josh Jenkins is probably unlikely to make his club debut.

(Edit: Nah shut up Miguel, they went in unchanged)

Previous clashes

The ledger is all square with both sides having won 26 of their 53 clashes, with a draw back in 2003. The Eagles won their sole previous clash at Burswood, and have a 13-9 overall record against the Cats on this side of the Nullarbor.

Last five clashes:
Semi-final 2020: Geelong 88 def. West Coast 68 at MCG
Round 6 2019: Geelong 104 def. West Coast 46 at GBH Stadium
Round 3 2018: West Coast 95 def. Geelong 80 at Optus
Round 13 2017: West Coast 83 def. Geelong 70 at Subiaco
Round 7 2016: Geelong 123 def. West Coast 79 at GBH Stadium

Forecast

Partly cloudy with light winds, min 7 degrees, max 19 degrees, 5% chance of rain. Similar weather to our clash with Collingwood last Sunday but very different conditions from Geelong's slog with Fremantle the following night.

Prediction

West Coast's likely midfield and ruck dominance and the stellar recent form of Kennedy, combined with the short turnaround and injury woes in the Geelong camp, should lead to the Eagles winning relatively comfortably and replacing the Cats in the top four.

Eagles by 25.

And since it's obligatory to include a Simpsons gif, here's Homer doing to a cat what we'll do to the Cats.

 
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Astro7

Official Oranges Man
Aug 6, 2017
2,500
2,991
AFL Club
West Coast
I was arrogantly confident of a good win over the Pies, but am wary of the Cats and the Eagles backing up after a big win.
All indicators and tipsters suggest we got this, as long as the Eagles collectively don't do 'A Darling' and spend it before they get it!?
If we look as polished as last week and secure a win, I might start buying into the 'sleeping giant awakens' hype...still a long way to go...C'mon Eagles!
 

FreeTK

Premiership Player
Oct 2, 2019
3,821
6,834
AFL Club
West Coast
Would take an immense satisfaction on pounding Geelong. Just don’t like them as a club!

Hopefully the short break after playing in a flood does them no favours and it’s similar to the Pies game.
Gee I would love to crush them by 10 goals.

Unfortunately they have some weapons at their disposal in Hawkins and Dangerfield. I would be very happy if we are able to win by 6 goals.
 

Oneiros

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 6, 2011
6,867
6,267
Perth
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West Coast
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Cleveland Browns, San Jose Sharks
Ah, the Eagles vs The Wife's Team. Luckily she is not particularly interested in this AFL Covid game, or it would be pretty tense around the house.
 

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woota

Club Legend
Jun 27, 2015
2,503
2,230
AFL Club
West Coast
You're going to be disappointed if you're anticipating some kind of epic contest. The weagles will obliterate geelong with relative ease, as they did collingwood last week. What the weaglies have got is the best forward, the best midfielder and the best ruckman in the competition (and quite arguably, the best in the history of the sport in their respective positions). I don't see much of a contest.
 

xInfected_Virus

Senior List
Apr 23, 2020
235
805
AFL Club
West Coast
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Richmond and Collingwood.
According to the forecasts, it should be sunny on game day.

 

RookiePick

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 13, 2014
17,535
29,864
AFL Club
West Coast
According to the forecasts, it should be sunny on game day.

Hopefully not too slippy given the evening slot but I think the boys will have a bit more touch regardless of conditions. Confidence is a heck of a tonic.
 

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