Round 14 of the 2019 AFL Premiership Season kicks off on Thursday night with the West Coast Eagles hosting the Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium. This will be the first of six games this weekend in what is the third and final bye round of 2019. As always, we preview the match and provide our best bet. Check it out below and good luck to everyone following!
Don’t forget, West Coast vs Essendon will be our focus today, but you can head to our AFL Tips Page for a bunch of content for Round 14 in the AFL including preview and tips for EVERY GAME.
Also, if you're interested in Daily Fantasy Sports, make sure you take advantage of Draftstars promotion this week - For every 3 entries into the Thursday AFL $100,000+ EAGLES V BOMBERS contest, you'll get an additional entry into Friday's AFL $75,000+ SWANS V HAWKS contest. There's a maximum of 5 additional entries per person and all tickets will be allocated by 11am on Friday morning, just check your bonus wallet after then for your tickets to that night's game.
Thursday, 8:10pm AEST, Optus Stadium
Very interesting game we’ve got on our hands to kick off AFL Round 14. The Eagles will be fresh after coming off their Round 13 bye, while the Bombers will be looking to carry the momentum from their win against the Hawks into this match.
West Coast Eagles
Aside from their final game before the bye, the Eagles finished the first half of the season in much better form than they started it and look every bit like the contenders we thought they’d be. They won five in a row from Rounds 7-11 before being blown out by the Swans at the SCG in Round 12 by 45 points. The Eagles were without quite a few of their star plays for that fixture, perhaps taking an additional week of rest knowing they had the bye coming up in Round 13.
The Eagles will likely welcome back Shannon Hurn to the senior side after a week off for injury/rest. He could be joined by a number of other key Eagles players if they complete the major training session on Tuesday. Some fantastic news for Eagles/footy fans is the return of Nic Natanui to the WAFL this weekend. He comes back from a serious knee injury that had him miss their 2018 Premiership.
The Bombers were too strong for the Hawks on Friday night in Round 13, completely overwhelming them in the second half to run home comfortably 19-point winners. Zach Merrett and Dyson Heppell found plenty of the ball again with 28 touches, while Michael Hurley (23 kicks, 12 marks) was the general down back. It was also another great game from promising young midfielder Dylan Clarke, who earned the Round 13 NAB Rising Star nomination for his 23-disposal performance.
The win over the Hawks last weekend takes the Bombers season record to an even 6-6 as we enter the second half of the season. They’re currently sitting in 10thposition on the ladder but are just one win behind the sixth placed Dockers. Essendon’s injury list is quite extensive when you look at the quantity, although only a handful are in their best 22 with the likes of Daniher and Smith.
These two sides have played each other 52 times since the Eagles joined the AFL in 1987. The Bombers lead the all-time head-to-head 29-23. It’s been fairly even over the last five games as well, with the Bombers leading the Eagles 3-2 during that span.
Last five meetings:
2018 R14 – West Coast (52) lost to Essendon (80)
2017 R9 – Essendon (125) defeated West Coast (64)
2016 R15 – West Coast (130) defeated Essendon (52)
2015 R11 – West Coast (96) defeated Essendon (46)
2014 R21 – Essendon (77) defeated West Coast (74)
It’s interesting to see that the Bombers have won the last two meetings with the Eagles by comfortable margins. They even won in Perth in this exact fixture (R14) last season, when the Eagles would go on to become Premiers. While you could write that game off as an anomaly and not read into it too much, we have the belief that the Bombers fast attacking game style stacks up really well against that of the Eagles run-and-carry style. Add in the last performance from the Eagles where they were belted by the lowly Swans, compared to the Bombers where they were convincing winners over the Hawks, we believe there’s a genuine case for the Bombers winning this match, or at least covering the three-goal spread.
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