West Coast will host North Melbourne in the final match of Round 17. This game has been pushed back to Monday night to allow Optus Stadium to potentially be at full capacity after Covid restrictions are scheduled to ease in Perth on Sunday night. Outside of Anzac Day Eve and the special 2020 Covid-restricted schedule, it will be the first Monday night AFL contest since 2014.
The Maverick is back to bring us his preview and AFL tips for West Coast vs North Melbourne.
Optus Stadium, Monday 7:40pm AEST
West Coast were awful last week. There’s no other way to describe it. The game against the Swans was pushed to the neutral confines of GMHBA Stadium in Geelong for Covid reasons, and while that’s clearly not the Eagles’ favourite ground, they were expected to put in a better showing than the 92-point drubbing they received.
Their season really is at the crossroads here. A loss to the bottom-of-the-table Kangaroos would completely derail their season and risk their finals spot completely. However they should be looking at this match as a chance to get some form back, in front of a big crowd on their home deck, and land a confidence-boosting victory.
No doubt injuries have played their part this season for the Eagles. Andrew Gaff is a chance to return after he was a late withdrawal from the team with a thumb injury, while there is some doubt over Jack Redden who was subbed out with a knee injury. The Eagles have shown some depth in the midfield this season with Luke Edwards and Luke Foley impressing when given opportunity, while Xavier O’Neill has plenty of potential.
For the Kangaroos, if last week was a big challenge against the ladder-leading Bulldogs, this week it’s the toughest road trip in the game. They are starting to get some cattle back on the park which is no doubt helping the younger guys find some more consistent four-quarter performances. Robbie Tarrant and Luke McDonald have steadied the backline, Trent Dumont has boosted the middle, with Jed Anderson and Jared Polec both a chance to return this week. They do still lack a key forward but Cam Zurhaar has stepped up in recent weeks with 4 goals last week, and 12 goals in his last five matches.
The Kangaroos will be aiming to keep it competitive and it’s certainly hard to trust the Eagles at the moment, so it’s pretty hard to dive into the 27.5 point line. The weather prediction is for rain around Perth on Monday, and although grounds do drain well, and it may not be enough to make an impact, even slippery conditions won’t suit the Eagles' forwards and could restrict scoring. Let’s bank on the rain and play the Points Unders.
The Eagles should get the job done here but the conditions should keep it close. Elliot Yeo is slowly building back to his form of old and he was one of their best last week against the Swans with 26 disposals. With Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly, Andrew Gaff and Jack Redden all recovering from injuries, Yeo is enjoying some extra time in the middle, and while he’s not a prolific ball winner, he’ll enjoy the wet conditions. As we already mentioned, Cam Zurhaar has been the best North Melbourne forward in recent weeks so we like him to hit the scoreboard.
West Coast 1-39
Elliot Yeo 20+ Disposals
Cam Zurhaar Anytime Goal Scorer
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