The West Coast Eagles will host the Optus Stadium acclimatised Gold Coast Suns on Saturday night. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 8:10pm AEST.
The Eagles and the Suns both played at Optus Stadium last weekend, Gold Coast against Fremantle on Saturday and West Coast took on Geelong on Sunday afternoon.
West Coast started strongly against Geelong. They faded in the third term and let the Cats back in it, but six unanswered goals in the last quarter got them across the line.
In a ‘home’ match sold to the Dockers, the Suns battled hard all day. A three-goals-to-one last quarter extended Fremantle’s three-quarter time lead, sealing the win and dealing Gold Coast their first loss of 2018.
Gold Coast stayed in Perth after their 28 point loss to Fremantle; their ten-day trip to Western Australia allowing the team to settle and avoid extra travel in this tough first half of the season on the road.
The last time these two teams met was in round 11 last year. At Metricon Stadium, the Suns took a three-point win, with Tom Lynch and Elliot Yeo kicking three goals each.
West Coast lose Liam Ryan and his incredible leap to an ankle injury this week. After three goals against the Western Bulldogs in round two, Ryan’s three-goal haul against Geelong was overshadowed by an injured ankle that could keep him out for two months.
Dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy will take Ryan’s place in the forward line, overcoming pre-season ankle and knee injuries.
Mark Hutchings has been omitted by the Eagles to make way for Liam Duggan, who was a late withdrawal from last week’s game with a hamstring strain.
In the Gold Coast camp there is one change. Jack Bowes joins the interchange bench to replace Pearce Hanley, who severely injured his shoulder against Fremantle.
It is milestone week for three players between these teams. The Eagles’ Nic Naitanui notches up 150 games and Mark LeCras reaches the 200 game mark. While Aaron Hall will line up in his 100th AFL game for the Suns.
Gold Coast will be looking to bounce back after their loss to the Dockers last Saturday. Their familiarity with the ground and each other after spending ten days in Perth together should help them, but West Coast look the better outfit. The inclusion of Josh Kennedy adds even more potency to the West Coast forward line, and should get them a strong win.
West Coast Eagles by 27