IT’S DERBY TIME! Are we ready for the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the legendary West Coast v Port City clash?
Let’s be honest, us Fremantle Dockers supporters are riding that emotional rollercoaster every week, so we are used to it! The West Coast Eagles are hosting the Fremantle Dockers in the 48th Western Derby at Optus Stadium on Sunday, and I have a feeling it may be closer than people may think!
The West Coast Eagles will be looking to bounce back this week, after suffering a disappointing 40-point loss to the Kangaroos in their last game. The Eagles were without some of their big names including Josh Kennedy (injury) and Luke Shuey (personal reasons), which was evident throughout the game, especially in front of goal. Willie Rioli was the highest goal scorer for West Coast, finishing with two goals, while Elliot Yeo managed 28 disposals and a goal.
The Fremantle Dockers also had a shocker last weekend, losing to the Hawks by a miserable 59 points. The Dockers are still without their skipper Nat Fyfe and star ruckman Aaron Sandilands, and the young team was beaten in every aspect of the game. Veteran David Mundy was impressive for the Dockers, finishing with 34 disposals and a goal, Ed Langdon also stood out, managing 26 disposals and a goal. Honourable mention to Bailey Banfield who I thought played very well, including kicking a ripper goal from the boundary after making a great intercept.
Both sides have a bunch of inclusions into their extended squads for Sunday’s game. West Coast Eagles welcome back Luke Shuey, high-flyer Liam Ryan, Lewis Jetta and Brendon Ah Chee to the line-up, with no exclusions at this stage. Congratulations are in order for Brad Sheppard, who will play his 150th game this week, an awesome milestone to achieve, well done Shep!
Some big inclusion news for the Fremantle Dockers, with the return of Matt Taberner! He was coming into some fine form before being struck down with injury and missing majority of this season. I know I have been critical of Tabs in the past, but I am very happy to see him back. He is joined in the extended squad by Hayden Ballantyne, Brady Grey, Cam McCarthy and Mitch Crowden. Cameron Sutcliff is the only out at this stage, suffering a hamstring injury against the Hawks last week.
The West Coast Eagles have a lot more to lose in this game than the Fremantle Dockers. The Eagles will be looking to hold their top-two spot as finals approach, they have a difficult run home and won’t be wanting to drop a game, especially in front of their home crowd. The Fremantle Dockers will want to get back on the winners list, for the season and for the derby count! The Eagles have won the last six Western Derbies, taking the tally to 27-20 in the Eagles favour.
I would LOVE the Fremantle Dockers to get the win on Sunday, and I think it will be a close game however, I’m tipping the West Coast Eagles to win Western Derby #48 by 7 points!
I’m tipping Elliot Yeo to be awarded the Glendinning-Allan medal.