Who else is still recovering from the Nic Naitanui knee news?
The West Coast Eagles come into this round on the back of a big 35-point win over the Pies at the MCG last week. They broke their MCG hoodoo however, it came at a price. A very big price, a price called Nic Naitanui. Nic Nat has ruptured the ACL in his good knee, and looks to spend another 12 months (minimum) on the sidelines. Absolutely heart breaking for him and the club. On a more positive note, Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Willie Rioli all finished with three goals against Collingwood, and Luke Shuey, Jack Redden and Andrew Gaff finished with 30 disposals each.
West Coast have made just two changes to their line-up this week, with the inclusion of Nathan Vardy and Dom Sheed. Vardy comes in for Nic Nat, while Sheed comes in for Jake Waterman, who has been omitted. Waterman, Jackson Nelson, Tom Barrass and Brendon Ah Chee have been named as the emergencies for the game.
The Western Bulldogs head west after suffering a 50-point loss to the Demons last weekend at the MCG. They aren’t having a great season so far and will desperately be looking to record the win at Optus Stadium, and may have elevated confidence with Nic Nat out of the Eagles side. They have made two changes to their line-up, with the inclusion of Hayden Crozier and Tom Boyd, who come in for Shane Biggs and Patrick Lipinski who have both been omitted. Lachie Hunter is the milestone man, playing his 100th game.
Nic Naitanui is a huge name for the West Coast Eagles and we will definitely notice his absence. However, the Eagles have arguably the best forward line in the competition, and I think they will be able to re-adjust themselves and get on with the remainder of the season.
I’m tipping the West Coast Eagles to beat the Bulldogs by 35 points!
Photo cred: @WestCoastEagles