Preview West Coast vs Essendon, Perth Stadium, Thursday 20/06/19, 8:10 AEST

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eth-dog

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West Coast: West Coast had a shock loss to Sydney before the bye, going down by 45 points after a 5 goal to 1 third quarter by the Swans, making it very difficult for the Eagles to recover. Dom Sheed, Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey combined in the middle for 78 disposals and 12 clearances, whilst gun forward Josh Kennedy kicked 3 goals.

Essendon: Defeated the olde enemy Hawthorne on Friday Night, an early blitz in the final quarter sealing the win for the men in red and black. Essendon's half back line were excellent, especially Michael Hurley who took 12 marks in his 26 disposals, and 5 intercept possessions among them, whilst Orazio Fantasia enjoyed 2 goals in his return to football.

Head to Head (last 5)

West Coast 2-3 Essendon

Form Guide

West Coast: 4W 1L
Essendon: 3W 2L

Sportsbet odds

West Coast: $1.33
Essendon: $3.14
Line: 17.5 ($1.90)

Possible sides

West Coast vs Essendon

B: Patrick Ambrose - Cale Hooker - Adam Saad
F: Jake Waterman - Josh Kennedy - Liam Ryan
HB: Conor McKenna - Michael Hurley- Mason Redman
HF: Jamie Cripps - Jack Darling - Tom Petrucelle
C: Andrew McGrath - Dylan Clarke - Zach Merrett
C: Andrew Gaff - Dom Sheed - Mark Hutchings
HF: Josh Begley - Jayden Laverde - Orazio Fantasia
HB: Liam Duggan - Jeremy McGovern - Lewis Jetta
F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti - Shaun McKernan - Aaron Francis
B: Bradley Sheppard - Will Schofield - Shannon Hurn
R: Tom Bellchambers - Dylan Shiel - Dyson Heppell
R: Tom Hickey - Luke Shuey - Jack Redden
I: Darcy Parish - Matthew Guelfi - Kyle Langford - David Zaharakis
I: Josh Smith - Tom Cole - Oscar Allen - Josh Rotham

Essendon in: Francis; Out: Stringer
West Coast in: Shannon Hurn, Oscar Allen; Out: Willie Rioli (susp), Nathan Vardy (susp)


West Coast defence vs Essendon forward line

Essendon are ranked 10th in the AFL in terms of goals per inside 50 entry, getting one 21.6% of the time it enters the 50. Meanwhile West Coast are 6th in the defensive stat, conceding a goal 20.7% of the time it enters their defensive 50. West Coast's miserly defence are very good at chopping off opposition attacks so it's important to not just bomb it into attack, with Jeremy McGovern likely to dominate the airways. Lowering the eyes and hitting up leading targets such as Jayden Laverde and Orazio Fantasia will be crucial, although the latter will have his hands full against Brad Sheppard, one of the best stoppers of small forwards in the game

Midfield/rucks battle

The centre of the ground is usually where it's won and lost, and Essendon look to have an advantage in both the clearance area and the contested possessions area, ranking 3rd and 8th in the differential stats of those areas respectively, whilst West Coast are 8th (with a negative differential, mind) and 15th in those areas respectively. Dom Sheed may well get tagged by a similar player to him at that age in Dylan Clarke since Elliott Yeo is out and Luke Shuey's pace will trouble Clarke, so it goes to their next best clearance winner. On the flip side, West Coast made the mistake to not play Mark Hutchings on Zach Merrett last year so expect Simpson to fix that mistake and send his stopper to the influential Bomber. The rest of the midfield will be interesting, with Luke Shuey and Jack Redden likely to go head-to-head with Dylan Shiel and Dyson Heppell respectively in the middle, whilst Andrew McGrath is going to try to match it with superstar Andrew Gaff. Rucks wise, Tom Bellchambers boasts the highest hitout to advantage rate in the league over the past 3 years of the regular ruckmen and Tom Hickey has averaged 18 hitouts this year, so it's fair to say Essendon will have an advantage here.

West Coast forward line vs Essendon defence

West Coast are excellent forward of centre, kicking a goal 24.9% of the time it enters the forward 50, ranked 3rd in the competition for this stat. Essendon conced a goal 19.7% of the time it enters their defensive 50, ranking at 5th overall so far this year. Unlike most games of the year, this will be the area where the game is won and lost, with West Coast's three pronged attack in Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Oscar Allen against Cale Hooker, Paddy Ambrose and Michael Hurley respectively, with Adam Saad likely to take Liam Ryan. Essendon's defence is one of the better ones in the league whilst West Coast are good at exposing weaker players so it promises to be the big match up of the game.

X-Factor Player

Jack Petrucelle has enjoyed a good debut season but with 1 goal in his past 4 games and averaging 8.5 touches in that time it's fair to say the bye came at the right time for the speedster, look for him to improve after a week off.

Key stat

West Coast: Inside 50 conversion. They boast one of the best forward lines in the game, but are coming up against a miserly defence. Need to assert their authority in this area of the ground.

Essendon: Clearances. Essendon are the 3rd best clearance side in the comp against the opposition so they need to continue this trend to make sure they get more forward entries than the opposition.

Tip

Tough game to pick, the Eagles will be looking for blood but Essendon are finally building momentum. When the head doesn't know, go with the heart. Essendon by 8.
 
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Bombers36

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Hoping its juts bruising with Stringer and he plays. If that's the case no change to a winning formula - although I wouldn't be adverse to Brown coming in...not sure for who though...??
 

JayJ20

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Hoping its juts bruising with Stringer and he plays. If that's the case no change to a winning formula - although I wouldn't be adverse to Brown coming in...not sure for who though...??
If Stringer stays in, Begley goes out for Brown.
 

blitzer

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I couldn't imagine Stringer playing for this one off a 6 day break in Perth when he couldn't play out the match (or even take the field again to try).

Anyway Brown and Francis are both legitimate options to play the role. I would have Brown as the front runner assuming he has no further wrist problems.

I give us a sneaky chance in this one however we really need to get off to a good start over there and our first quarters haven't been great this year although we are improving in this area.

Our defensive matchups should be pretty decent
Kennedy - Ambrose
Darling - Hurley
Allen/Resting ruck - Hooker
Ryan - Redman
Rioli - Saad
Cripps/Venables whoever - McKenna
 

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MiguelM

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I couldn't imagine Stringer playing for this one off a 6 day break in Perth when he couldn't play out the match (or even take the field again to try).

Anyway Brown and Francis are both legitimate options to play the role. I would have Brown as the front runner assuming he has no further wrist problems.

I give us a sneaky chance in this one however we really need to get off to a good start over there and our first quarters haven't been great this year although we are improving in this area.

Our defensive matchups should be pretty decent
Kennedy - Ambrose
Darling - Hurley
Allen/Resting ruck - Hooker
Ryan - Redman
Rioli - Saad
Cripps/Venables whoever - McKenna
Rioli suspended
 

Darealrath

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I have very low expectations going into this one, but if we can pick up either this or the GWS game we can really set up the second half of our season.

Would prefer Brown to Francis. Brown is smart enough to snag 2-3 if they zone off him.
 

Macca18

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It would be a mistake to play Brown (replacing Stringer) after what I saw today. He kicked a couple today but did look a bit out of touch. I wouldn't be playing him against a team boasting the likes of Hurn & McGovern in defence... he'll cop a bath.

Last year kicking the first 8 goals put the game to bed pretty early. It was our best half potentially this decade. The year before (2017) we also led 12 goals to 3 at one stage. They are the reigning premiers for a reason and they won't like their recent record against us... or the fact they are coming off a pretty awful loss to the Swans. I don't think our playing list will be overawed by West Coast though.

I don't want a shootout and I don't think we will allow one. I also hope we start $5-6 outsiders and given absolutely no hope by the football public (quite likely) ... we generally do our best in those situations. This game could be the difference between us playing finals and not.
 

Duckworth

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It would be a mistake to play Brown (replacing Stringer) after what I saw today. He kicked a couple today but did look a bit out of touch. I wouldn't be playing him against a team boasting the likes of Hurn & McGovern in defence... he'll cop a bath.

Last year kicking the first 8 goals put the game to bed pretty early. It was our best half potentially this decade. The year before (2017) we also led 12 goals to 3 at one stage. They are the reigning premiers for a reason and they won't like their recent record against us... or the fact they are coming off a pretty awful loss to the Swans. I don't think our playing list will be overawed by West Coast though.

I don't want a shootout and I don't think we will allow one. I also hope we start $5-6 outsiders and given absolutely no hope by the football public (quite likely) ... we generally do our best in those situations. This game could be the difference between us playing finals and not.
Did Brown play a full game, or have his game-time managed in any way?
 

Macca18

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Did Brown play a full game, or have his game-time managed in any way?
Definitely managed. Didn't see him a great deal after Half Time which may mean he will be under selection consideration.

Kicked one in the first 30 seconds from a centre clearance and mark... then a free kick goal in the 2nd quarter. The Box Hill defence was on top for most of the day... plenty of intercept marks.

Brown didn't do enough for mine but perhaps injury will force us to play him anyway.
 

un_eggs

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Simple strategy to counter WC strengths;

Don’t kick bombs for their intercept defenders.

Corale Gaff into the back half with a zoned tagger.

Trust in our tall defensive unit to nullify Kennedy and Darling.

Constant pressure on their midfield delivery into forward 50.
 
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