Glory beckons for high-flying Eagles
THE West Coast Eagles will be vying to make their first grand final since winning their third flag in 2006.
The Eagles should be boosted by the return of Brownlow Medallist Matthew Priddis and midfielder Chris Masten for their preliminary final against North Melbourne on Saturday.
Both missed the qualifying final win over Hawthorn with injury.
The WA side has been one of the surprise packets of the season, with many experts tipping them to finish in the bottom part of the ladder.
Several key players have had careerbest years, with Andrew Gaff, Jeremy McGovern, Nic Naitanui, Priddis and Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy all making it into the All-Australian team shortlist.
It didn’t look good at the start of the season when reigning club champion and fullback Eric Mackenzie, and key position
Pictures: Andrew Ritchie player Mitch Brown, went down with season-ending knee injuries.
But the Eagles’ rise has been a combination of having the second-best attack and fourth-best defence in the competition.
Including the qualifying final against Hawthorn, the Eagles average 105 points per game while restricting their opponents to an average score of 71.
A key reason for the rise has been the amount of scoring they have piled on opposition teams, with Josh Kennedy rewarded
www.communitypix.com.au d443576 with the Coleman Medal for kicking the most goals this season (75), and goal sneak Mark LeCras has regained form and remained relatively injury free. The pair have combined to kick more than a third of the Eagles’ goals this season (121).
Just as telling has been the ‘Weagles Web’, their trademark defensive web which maintains its structure to combat key parts of the area at all times.
This has helped keep opponents’ scores to less than 12 goals on average.
Nic Naitanui flies above the pack; Will Schofield (top); Scott Selwood escapes four Hawks (bottom); Matt Rosa marks.