HOW THEY CAN BEAT THE DEMONS
‘If Melbourne play like that, they’ll get beaten by 12 goals’
FOOTY analyst David King yesterday warned Melbourne that West Coast would thrash them in Saturday’s preliminary final showdown at Optus Stadium unless they showed dramatic improvement from Friday night.
As hype builds over the potential of a third droughtbreaking Victorian premiership fairytale in as many years, King was left unimpressed by the Demons in their 33-point semifinal win over Hawthorn at the MCG.
“They took a step backwards, Melbourne. Hawthorn, if they had taken their opportunities, they’d have been three or four goals in front at halftime and it’s a whole different ball game then,” he told Melbourne Radio.
“If Melbourne play like that next week, they’ll get beaten by 12 goals. West Coast play a similar brand (to the Hawks), but they’ve got better stocks.
“Sometimes you can gloss over your wins and say ‘we’re going well and winning’. But. . . if they do that next weekend their season will be over.”
TABtouch has installed West Coast as $1.80 favourites to progress to their seventh grand final, with Melbourne paying $2.05.
The weather bureau’s early forecast for Saturday’s monster clash, which begins at 1.20pm, is for a maximum of 26C.
The Eagles belted North Melbourne on a hot day at Subiaco Oval in the 2012 elimination final, but were no match for Hawthorn in the 2015 grand final when it hit 31.3C in the hottest VFL-AFL grand final on record.
The winner of the preliminary final at Optus Stadium will have one less day to prepare for the grand final than their opponent, but they will have the benefit of having played in the only day game of the finals series. The early start time means it will be the only finals match played with a red ball before the decider.
West Coast forwards coach Jaymie Graham said yesterday spearhead Josh Kennedy had pulled up “very sore” from his first game in seven weeks but had completed a full training session on Friday.
Kennedy and forward partner Jack Darling will have a huge say in the Eagles’ premiership tilt. West Coast have won all 11 games they have played in together this season.
“It’s match fitness, because when you miss so much footy that’s what you do lose. He said he pulled up very sore from the game just generally from playing,” Graham told 6PR.
The Eagles will have played just one game in 27 days leading into the preliminary final.
West Coast did match simulation on Friday at Optus Stadium and have open training there at 10am tomorrow. Fans can wait outside Gate D for entry from 9am.
Hell yeah: Angus Brayshaw celebrates with teammate Aaron vandenBerg, left, as Melbourne book their preliminary final berth.