It’s DERBY TIME WA footy fans! Apologies to the non-footy fans, I assume this is a fairly annoying time of year for you… #SorryNotSorry
Yellow and blue V purple and white. Curls (Matt Priddis) V curls (Griffin Logue). One-eyed supporter V one-eyed supporter. Ridiculous sledge V ridiculous sledge. And so on. It’s the rivalry that turns friends into enemies, and has the WA footy world abuzz with who will get bragging rights around the town for at least a whole week…
The West Coast Eagles host their cross-town rivals Fremantle Dockers in the 45th Western Derby on Saturday. Out of the last 44 derbies, West Coast have won 24, including the last three, and Fremantle have won 20. Pretty close! Interestingly, both teams come into this one with the same win-loss record for the 2017 season.
West Coast have made three changes to their line-up, Jamie Cripps is out for 6-8 weeks with an ankle injury, Jackson Nelson is out for a month with a fractured wrist and Will Schofield has been omitted. They have been replaced with debutant Kurt Mutimer, Jonathan Giles and Sam Mitchell, who has been cleared to play after suffering an ankle injury against the Swans in Round 4. Mitchell is a HUGE inclusion for West Coast and I think he will have a big impact on the game.
The Eagles have had a fairly rough week following their hefty loss to the Hawks at the MCG last weekend. The injuries to Cripps and Nelson were just further blows while they were already down. With all the flak they have been copping for their poor performance record at the MCG, they may come into this game a little rattled. On the flip side, they could come out firing to prove the critics wrong!
The Dockers have made just one change, Stephen Hill could be out for up to a month after suffering a hamstring injury last week. Hill has been impressive so far this season and is a big loss for the Dockers, who are currently on a three-game winning streak. Harley Balic has been named in the squad to replace Hill, after overcoming an injury (hip) of his own.
Watch So Eagles, So Freo Part 2
Fremantle come into the Derby off another heart-stopping victory, stealing the win from the jaws of North Melbourne at Domain Stadium last week. One thing that Freo are suddenly good at is playing hard for four quarters and not fading out in the second half. Fremantle’s young fellas have been great so far this season so I’m pleased that Coach Ross Lyon is continuing to give them a run.
Along with Docker Michael Walters playing his 100th game and West Coast’s Jack Redden playing his 150th game, All-Australian ruckman and Fremantle legend Aaron Sandilands plays his 250th game this weekend. Congratulations to the big guy, show your support for Sandi at @FremantleDockers #Sandi250.
Check out some Sandilands magic below:
— AFL (@AFL) April 27, 2017
Both West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers perform well at Domain Stadium however, I think the Eagles tend to benefit from/rely on the home ground advantage a little more than the Dockers. The stands will be a sea of blue and yellow, which may just be the confidence boost they need after last week. West Coast will be coming into this game as the favourites but I don’t think people should underestimate the young Dockers’ outfit.
I’m predicting a very close game, which is just how we like our derbies! Am I allowed to sit on the fence with my tip this week…? Can I just say that it will be a draw? No?