Tipping the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership was always a difficult proposition from the first round, and it has not gotten any easier when unexpected results, such as the West Coast Eagles beating the Geelong Cats 83 – 70, almost becoming the norm, rather than the exception.
West Coast won for the first time in over a month. Just last week, the Cats took care of business by beating the formidable scoring machine that goes by the name of the Adelaide Crows.
The Eagles found what could be a successful formula for belling the Cats, as they kept a close watch on Patrick Dangerfield and Scott Selwood. Dangerfield managed 34 touches, but 21 of those resulted in handballs. Selwood was limited to 19 touches.
Eagles’ Coach Adam Simpson received praise from knowledgeable observers. Dual North Melbourne Kangaroos premiership player David King had this to say, “I think we learnt some things tonight. The double tags. We hear coaches talk about it all the time, how if you tag one you can’t tag two because we’re told it throws your structures out. But Adam Simpson was brave.
Sydney Swans premiership Coach Paul Roos echoed King and suggested that other coaches will be quick to learn from Simpson’s simple and effective, but at the same time, risky, tactic.
An even more surprising aspect of the Eagles’ win was the fact that they did it without Josh Kennedy. Jack Darling stepped up to fill the void created by Kennedy’s absence, kicking two majors and leading the team with seven marks.
Geelong had to deal with an injury during the match to Nakia Cockatoo. He kicked the first goal of the match, but a Will Schoefield tackle had him off the ground early. He returned, but his durability is questionable in light of the hamstring injury he sustained against the Western Bulldogs. Selwood had to come off in the third quarter, apparently another victim of a hamstring injury. That could prove to be the more costly to the Cats.