The conclusion to round six is a very intriguing contest between the only unbeaten side left in the AFL, West Coast, and one of the most improved sides of 2012, North Melbourne. Join us for live scores and updates from 4.40pm AEST.
Last week was a very important win for the Eagles, getting past Richmond after some nervy moments near the end.
Any win on the road is like gold for West Coast in 2012. Most pundits have the Eagles winning all their home games, so to make the top four they need the odd win on the road. So far, they are three wins from three games.
This week, the Eagles are back at their fortress, Patersons Stadium. However, the focus of the week has been squarely on the forward line after the injury to forward Josh Kennedy.
Added to the other key injuries of Mark LeCras, Mark Nicoski and Andrew Embley, the Eagles have lost a fair chunk of their experience, especially up forward – the quartet combined in 2011 for 46 per cent of their total goals.
But, West Coast has been able to cover this very well with Jack Darling stepping up with twelve goals, Josh Hill averaging two goals a game and the side has a total of 19 goal kickers – spreading the load very well.
Their defence has been very stable and the midfield has been dominant, with thanks to their two prominent ruckman – Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox.
The next month will be the big test though for the Eagles. The Kangaroos will be no pushover, a resurgent Essendon at Etihad, St Kilda at home, then the Western Derby. Stay undefeated and you can almost lock them in for a top-four spot.
North Melbourne’s season has shown plenty of promise with their upset win over Geelong, close matches against Essendon (for a while at least) and a comfortable win against GWS.
The last fortnight has not been as scintillating as we’d expected – a poor loss against Sydney and an unconvincing win against the Suns.
Today is where we find out how good this squad is or where they need to be at.
The Kangas have used a lot of handball in 2012 and running plenty. That’s good news when you get to Patersons Stadium with the wide expanses of the venue giving them plenty of room to move. With wet weather expected, that game plan could be a big plus.
And while their record overall in Perth against the Eagles hasn’t been great, their last two matches there has shown that if they play like that, they will trouble the home team.
If the game plan works, great. If it doesn’t, they could be in deep trouble, because there doesn’t seem to be a decent back up plan.
The small crumbing forwards could be on show today – Lindsay Thomas will need to convert well, while Matt Campbell and Daniel Wells will need to take their chances.
If North Melbourne gets up today, you hope it says more about their progress than it will about West Coast’s stumble.
We’ll be bringing you live updates as they happen and we want to hear from you too. Jump on and have your say through what should be a great way to round up a ripping weekend of football – join us from 4.40pm AEST.