‘If Mel­bourne play like that, they’ll get beaten by 12 goals’

The Sunday Times - - Front Page - BRADEN QUARTERMAINE

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.

Pic­ture: AFL Me­dia

Hell yeah: Angus Brayshaw cel­e­brates with team­mate Aaron van­denBerg, left, as Mel­bourne book their pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal berth.

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