Eagles’ Remaining Fixture Offers Two Challenges Possible Finals Preview

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Optus Stadium continues to prove a good investment for the AFL in Western Australia. Round 16 of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition proved no exception, as once again, more than 50,000, 52,105 to be exact, according to league figures, watched the West Coast Eagles and the GWS Giants slug it out, with the Eagles ahead 86 – 75 when the siren sounded for the final time.

GWS might want to look into the possibility that the pipes being used by the Eagles were widened, or those used by the Giants were moved in, as the Giants’ kicks produced more behinds than majors. They posted 10.15 for their total of 75. Maybe they did not properly account for the breeze.

West Coast kicked 13 goals to eight behinds, so this appears to have been one of those games decided by a narrow margin of accuracy.

The major stats supplied by the AFL tend to bear this out, any edge going to the Eagles from having taken 30 more kicks over the course of the game.

The Eagles needed the win badly, as they have shown some signs of vulnerability of late, losing three in a row, to the Swans in Round 13, improbably to the Bombers in Round 14 and most improbable of all, to Adelaide in Round 15.

The forces that provide balance to the league almost seemed to be saying that the Eagles had to cool off after reeling off 10 consecutive from Round 2 through Round 11. They came off their bye week to drop one to the Swans in Round 13.

West Coast is looking good for the run home. Other than Collingwood in Round 17 and Port in Round 21, there is some low hanging fruit in their fixture.

The upcoming match with the Pies looks like a defining moment for the Eagles in 2018 and a finals meeting sometime in September is not outside the realm of possibility.

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