WEST COAST v COLLINGWOOD
MCG, Saturday 0230PM
WEST COAST (WW)
What the Eagles need to do to win this game
- Fast start
- Target the big forwards Kennedy and Darling
- Win the battle of the midfield
The Eagles hit the Demons hard right from the opening bounce and kicked away to a 29 point lead at quarter time before extending that to 63 points at the main break. The Demons had finished the first half without scoring a single goal. The game was over.
Whilst the combination of Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy had wasted their chances against the Magpies with 4.5 in the qualifying final, the forwards put 7.3 on the scoreboard against the Demons. The Eagles are undefeated when both Darling and Kennedy play this season.
The Eagles have played twice at the MCG this season, winning both games against the Blues (10 points) and the Magpies (35 points).
What the Magpies need to do to win this game
- Get the crowd into the game early
- Use Mason Cox in the forward line
- Convert goal scoring opportunities
Early in the finals the Wolf spoke about the need for teams to kick straight. Put simply the Magpies started to convert their scoring opportunities. They took 14 shots in the first half and converted at 71%. The Tigers took 10 shots and converted at just 20.5%.
When you consider that despite the scoreline Richmond had just 4 scoring shots less than Collingwood, the ability to kick straight was the difference. Richmond had enough scoring shots to at least stay in the game, but their second quarter comeback was thwarted by poor kicking (1.5).
STATS THAT MATTER
- The Wolf spoke last week about Steele Sidebottom being the key to the Magpies winning the football. The midfielder absolutely shone against the Tigers with 41 disposals, 13 marks, 3 inside 50s and 5 clearances. The Wolf expects Mark Hutchings to go to Sidebottom on Saturday.
- Jack Redden starred for the Eagles against the Demons with 31 disposals and 13 marks. The midfielder dominated the final quarter in the qualifying final against the Magpies with 10 disposals.
- Mason Cox has the potential to have another huge influence on this match. The Wolf highlighted the big Texan as one of the players who would have a big impact last week and Cox’s 3 goals and 8 contested marks broke the game open on Friday night.
The benefit of a big target in the grand final cannot be underestimated with players going a bit crazy with nerves in the opening 10 minutes. The ball often pinballs around before the game settles. A big marking target helps the midfield to revert to basics. Win the clearance. Get the ball forward. Kick it to a big target.
- Unsurprisingly both Collingwood (+11) and West Coast (+25) won the tackle count in their respective preliminary finals. It is that pressure at ground level which is so crucial in the first quarter of grand finals.
- Taylor Adams worked hard all night against Richmond with 20 contested possessions from his 36 touches and 5 tackles. The midfielder helped to transition the ball into the forward line with 9 inside 50s.
WHAT TO EXPECT
What astute punters will notice is that the market is almost the reverse of the qualifying final a couple of weeks ago. The question becomes what happened to cause that shift? The Eagles haven’t put a foot wrong in the two finals they have played and defeated the Magpies both times they have played this season.
The Wolf thinks West Coast will get the win.
HOW IT’S SHAPING UP