Where and when: Optus Stadium, Saturday March 30, 5.10pm AWST
Last time they met: Optus Stadium, round 16, 2018. West Coast 13.8 (86) beat Greater Western Sydney 10.15 (75)
Both sides were dealing with decimated forward lines and were scrapping for the top four, but it was the Eagles who arrested a three-game losing streak in a see-sawing encounter with midfielder Andrew Gaff racking up 41 touches and booting two goals.
What it means for West Coast: After a hiccup in Brisbane, expect talk of a hangover if the Eagles can’t produce a better effort at home on a marquee occasion when the club will raise the premiership flag and celebrate Shannon Hurn, Chris Masten and, pending fitness, Josh Kennedy’s milestone games.
What it means for GWS: The Giants thumped Essendon and if Leon Cameron can engineer an upset in Perth there will be growing belief this group, despite a ‘fire sale’ during the NAB AFL Trade Period, is a genuine premiership threat.
How West Coast wins: The Eagles were smashed in the contest (-29) by Brisbane and need to at least square the midfield battle to give their inexperienced forward line more chances to kick a winning score.
How GWS wins: Jeremy Cameron, who has lost sidekick Toby Greene to a calf injury, holds the key for the Giants. The star left-footer will need to have a significant scoreboard impact for Greater Western Sydney to cause an upset.
The stat: The Giants might have a reputation among some as a free-wheeling outfit, but they outhunted Essendon in round one. Despite having 63 more possessions they laid more tackles (63-58) and belted the Bombers in contested ball (+40).
The match-up: Stephen Coniglio v Mark Hutchings
Coniglio tore Essendon apart in round one, racking up 31 disposals and booting three goals. The West Australian looms as the No.1 danger man in the Giants’ midfield and Hutchings is likely to make a beeline to Coniglio from the opening bounce.
It’s a big week for: Shannon Hurn
A week after leading West Coast for the 100th time, the premiership skipper will become just the eighth Eagle to reach the 250-game milestone on Saturday night. It will be a huge event given Kennedy reaches 200 club games, Masten plays his 200th and the flag will be raised, and more importantly than anything the Eagles need a win.
Thommo’s Tip: West Coast by 18 points.
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