Results just didn’t quite go the West Coast’s way this weekend.
Although a lot had to go right if the Eagles had any chance of breaking the top four.
The West Coast needed either the Tigers or the Cats lose this weekend, against the Crows or the Swans. And considering the Crows and the Swans’ recent form, it was unlikely from the start that the Eagles would have a look in.
But Geelong looked like they weren’t firing on all cylinders on Sunday night, and the Swans took advantage of this, dominating the first three quarters and scoring a heap of points against a lacklustre Geelong side.
At one point we thought the Swans were going to get the win, outplaying Geelong who looked like they were asleep for most of the game. But some poor decisionmaking in front of goal cost the Swans the win, losing only by 3 points.
Heartache for Eagles fans.
The results this weekend mean that the Eagles will finish the season in 5th place. But that’s not something we’re too disgruntled about as the Eagles will get a chance to play once at home in their elimination final against Collingwood next Saturday.
This will give the boys a fairly good stab at getting through to the semi-finals.
How will the finals play out?
The Eagles will take on 8th placed Collingwood in the first elimination final on Saturday 3 October.
Collingwood finished the season on 38 points after being bested by Port Adelaide in the last round of the season. Although this year’s minor premiers didn’t have it all their own way, with both sides trading the lead during the first half, with Port only pushing away from the Pies late in the third quarter.
And the West Coast have been guilty on several occasions this year of not coming out and dominating teams from the off. They’ve had to grind out a few results late on in multiple games this year, and will need to have their game faces on from the first bounce to react in the first half against a Pies side who will be looking to get a big scalp.
The West Coast are favourites to win this one, having annihilated the Pies earlier on this season, beating them by 65 points at the Optus Stadium back in July, with Josh Kennedy showing his true class kicking 7 goals for the Eagles.
Like the Eagles, Collingwood also have a long list of injuries, with key defender Jeremy Howe being ruled out for the rest of the season this weekend, after suffering sustained damage to a PCL injury that has troubled him throughout the season.
Yet the Eagles will still need to outplay a very fast running Pies midfield with Taylor Adams, Jack Crisp and Scott Pendlebury running the show. Adams has averaged 22.9 disposals a game this season and is a key ball-winning midfielder that the Eagles will have to shut out from the start if they want to get the ball inside Collingwood’s 50.
And if the Eagles get a win against Collingwood, then it’s likely they’ll face up between either first placed Port Adelaide or fourth-placed Geelong.
Although the Pies look like they could do some damage to the Eagles, we’re still confident the West Coast can come out on top, especially with hopes that Luke Shuey, Jeremy McGovern, and Elliot Yeo could return before the game to bolster the squad.
Port haven’t been knocked off the top spot all season, despite actually suffering quite a heavy 60 point loss to the Cats back in August. Perhaps the Cats can capitalise on their current run of good form, with Coleman medalist Tom Hawkins’ boot kicking pretty much everything through at the minute.
In fact, Port Adelaide haven’t actually lost a game since that defeat to Geelong on the 14th August, but their momentum has been building over the last few weeks, and we expect to see the Port bite back and get revenge on Geelong in this year’s first qualifying final.
Should Port go through, the Eagles will then take on Geelong in the first semi-final, and to be honest, Geelong don’t look in great nick at the moment. To beat Geelong, the Eagles defenders will need to be clinical in marking and spoiling any balls through to key forwards Gary Rohan and goal machine Hawkins.
And the Eagles have beaten the Cats already this season, coming back in the third quarter to turn on the after-burners with Kennedy again leading the scoring with 4 goals.
Should the Eagles win then we’ll go through to the preliminary finals where things will get a lot tougher, with the West Coast likely to take on either a solid Brisbane side, who dominated the Eagles earlier in the year, or the Tigers, who are simply a force to be reckoned with in their quest for back-to-back premierships.
This year’s grand final will take place on Saturday 24th October and could feature a star-studded line up with Port Adelaide, Brisbane, and Richmond all favourites to make it.
But each of these teams are easily beatable, and with players coming back from injury over the coming weeks, the West Coast stand a pretty good chance of going all the way this year.