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West Coast Eagles (Last year 9 wins) – Over/Under 12.0 wins – $1.88
Looking back: West Coast was one of the premiership favourites going into last season and had a poor year by their standards. They lost their long time coach John Worsfold after the season and will look to bounce back in 2014.
What went wrong: West Coast was crippled by injury in 2013 and couldn’t get any continuity with their top tier players from week to week. Injuries are always going to be a part of the game but if they can have a stroke of luck with most of their better players it will give them confidence on the field.
Games Missed in 2013
Waters – 15
Kerr – 12
Wellingham – 12
Nic Nat – 11
Rosa – 11
Hurn – 10
LeCras – 7
Shuey – 6
Player movement: West Coast has lost Kerr, Embley and Nicoski to retirement. In their prime each were blistering players and have had brilliant careers at the Eagles. They have been part of the senior crop of players and probably only Kerr will be sorely missed. He still had game breaking ability even with the injury troubles he faced.
The Eagles gain Elliot Yeo who has shown promise with the Brisbane Lions and was pick 30 in the compromised GWS concession draft of 2011 as well as Xavier Ellis who battled to find a permanent spot with the Hawks in the last few seasons. Both add depth to an already strong list.
What to expect: West Coast have all the tools to be a top 4 side at their best and certainly a top 8 side on their list’s potential. The backline will be bolstered by the return of Hurn and Waters and with Glass, MacKenzie and Schofield already back there it may be a tough place to crack a spot. The midfield is young, fast and dangerous. Shuey, Wellingham, Pridis, Selwood and Masten are certainly in to the prime of their careers and Rosa, Gaff and LeCras can provide solid support. Nic Nat and Cox are probably the best one two ruck combination in the league when Nic Nat is fit. The forward line held up last year on the back of Kennedy and Darling with LeCras chipping in also.
Draw: With 6 really winnable home games (against WBD, STK, PORT, GC, COLL, MEL) and 5 other home games including 2 western derbys and (RICH, SYD, NM), the Eagles should be looking at winning at least 7 or 8 and possibly 9 or 10. The home ground advantage has been superior to most other venues in the past and should it return to the dreaded Perth road trip it has been in the past for teams, it should be a lucrative venue for the Eagles this season.
Away games against MEL, GWS, STK, GC all present as winnable options with another 7 away matches at GEE, CARL, COLL, HAW, BRIS, ADE, ESS will be a fair bit tougher but at their best the Eagles could easily win between 4 and 6 away matches on the season.
Final Word: The Eagles are coming off a terrible year and new coach Adam Simpson should be able to resurrect their fortunes. So many players like Kennedy, Shuey, Wellingham, Selwood, Waters etc are all around 100 games and ready to peak. Last season we saw 8 teams (including Essendon) have at least 12 wins which proves it is not an insurmountable task by any means. A bit of luck with injury and the Eagles should be able to win at least 9 games again in 2014 but more likely somewhere between 13 – 15.
West Coast Eagles OVER 12.0 wins – $1.88