Where and when: Optus Stadium, Saturday July 27, 2.35pm AWST
What it means for West Coast: The Eagles are walking a tightrope to stay in the hunt for a top-two spot and simply must win their remaining home games. With Richmond and Collingwood facing off on Friday night, one more victory would also all but lock in the double chance of a top-four spot.
What it means for North Melbourne: The gut-wrenching loss to Brisbane means the Roos have to win out from here over the last five rounds to stand any chance of finishing in the top eight. It’s implausible but not impossible if they beat the Eagles.
The stat: This will be the first meeting between these sides at Optus Stadium, where the Roos have played twice for one win against Fremantle last year and an 82-point belting in round one this season. West Coast won six of the last seven clashes at Subiaco Oval.
The match-up: Jack Darling v Robbie Tarrant
Darling is back to the form which had many rating him the best forward in the competition early last season and has drilled 16.3 in his past four outings, climbing to a career-high 83rd in the AFL Official Player Ratings along the way. Tarrant (No.17 key defender) might have locked on to Josh Kennedy in the past, but in current form Darling is more of a threat and Scott Thompson, provided he plays after rupturing a testicle against Brisbane, could get the job on the dual Coleman medallist.
It’s a big week for: Rhyce Shaw
The caretaker coach has impressed everyone since taking the reins from Brad Scott and boasts a 4-3 record, with the past two defeats by five points and two goals against Essendon and Brisbane. Another strong showing in the west will only enhance his credentials as Scott’s full-time successor.
Thommo’s Tip: West Coast by 10 points
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