Miracles can happen, right?
The Eagles have announced a very strong side to take on North Melbourne in the final round of the 2020 season.
Having secured fifth place and an elimination finals spot, the Eagles are still showing their determination to bag a spot in the top four fielding what is a very strong side considering the number of injuries they have suffered.
But to get into the top four they’ll need to win on Thursday night at the Metricon Stadium, to heap the pressure on Richmond and Geelong.
But to do this, they’ll need to win by a large margin against the Kangaroos on Thursday night at the Metricon. And Adam Simpson has confirmed that he wouldn’t be resting anyone, considering what’s on the line for the Eagles here.
“Gone are the days when you shut down five or six players because finals are around the corner.”Adam Simpson speaking ahead of the game.
Although the Eagles will still be without some of their key players, with Jeremy McGovern still in the treatment room, Elliot Yeo still suffering from a groin strain, and Luke Shuey still coming round from his double hammy strain. Simmo will be looking to his standout performers from last week to step up again.
Tom Barrass was imperious at the weekend after McGovern left the field and was a stalwart at the back for the Eagles. With Gov out, Tom Cole will move into the backline, allowing Schofield to step up into the centre half spot, just behind Dom Sheed who also returns to the central midfield to take on the Roo’s Jed Anderson.
Up top, Brendon Ah Chee will also come back into the flanks after recovering from his finger injury and will tuck in behind Oscar Allen, who starts for the Eagles this week.
With what’s at stake this week, the Eagles will be wanting to guard against any complacency against the Kangaroos, who will be looking to bounce back from their poor form this season to end the year on a high.
The Eagles did slip off towards the end of the 3rd quarter and during the start of the 4th against the Saints, who managed to punt a flurry of goals against the Eagles in the fourth.
But stand out players like Andrew Gaff, Liam Ryan, Nic Naitanui, and Tim Kelly pulled the Eagles back from what could have been a poor defeat to pummel the Saints with four goals in the last ten minutes of the game.
With Kelly and Gaff moving into the rover positions, after notching 63 disposals between them last week, the Eagles look like they could pose some serious trouble to a deflated Roos side who could struggle to cope with the quick play of the ball-winning midfielders.
And at the ruck, Nic Naitanui will come up against Roo’s 2015 All-Australian Ruckman Todd Goldstein. Goldstein has averaged 28 hit-outs a game this season and as a veteran of the game, racking up 250 appearances for North, and as the 3rd best ruckman in the competetion, Nic Naitanui will have his hands full to get up and over Goldstein.
But with Bailey Williams back in to support Naitanui this week, the Eagles look in fine form to grab a big win at the Metricon on Thursday night.
Let’s hope the boys can grab the win and propel themselves back into the top four, just in time for finals footy!