Match Preview: Grand Final Rematch Collingwood v West Coast

Match Preview: Grand Final Rematch Collingwood v West Coast

Match preview of the round will be the 2018 Grand Final replay with Collingwood v West Coast at the MCG 4:25pm (WST) Saturday 6th of April.

Grand Final rematch 4:25pm (WST) Saturday 6th of April.

So we proclaimed before the season even started ‘8 Reasons Why WCE Will Go Back to Back‘ and this Saturday will be the ultimate test against an upgraded Pies outfit.

Key Talking Points

  • Can the Pies midfield be stopped?
  • How will Gaff fit into the West Coast midfield after so much time out?
  • Can the Pies stop West Coast’s tall forwards?
  • Can Hickey and Vardy stop Grundy?
  • Is this a preview to the last game in September?

Last 2 minutes: But first let’s just relive this magical moment

Two games into the season and the West Coast Eagles have provided a mixed bag performance. An uninspiring effort and result in a defeat to the Brisbane Lions in round one, then followed by the dismantling of a finals contender in the GWS Giants.

Collingwood, however, lost to the surprisingly hot starting Geelong Cats in round one as they were able to control the ball and stop Collingwood’s run and the effect of their small and speedy forwards. Collingwood however then bounced back to destroy premiership favourites Richmond Tigers in round two, however with the loss of Rance and an injured Riewoldt on the night Richmond definitely aren’t in full flight this season.

So which is the real West Coast Eagles and are Collingwood the real deal?

What happened when they met in 2018:

  • Grand Final: West Coast 11.13 (79) – Collingwood 11.8 (74) – @MCG
  • Qualifying Final: West Coast 12.14 (86) – Collingwood 10.10 (70) @Optus Stadium
  • Round 17: Collingwood 9.13 (67) – West Coast 15.12 (102) @MCG

Battle of the Mids

With the addition of Beams through off-season trade and a fit Adams the Collingwood midfield has gone to elite levels (even though it was already), but the question needs to be raised are they too attack heavy in the midfield? Are their midfielders willing and able to be 2 way players on both sides of the ball?

Geelong showed that with controlled footy you are able to stunt the run and attack of the Collingwood midfield – which is exactly the style West Coast used on the weekend to take apart the GWS Giants and their equally as impressive midfield.

If West Coast are able to stop the run and carry of Collingwood’s midfielders it will limit the supply into the forward line and if the entries into the forward line are atleast slowed it will give West Coast the best chance to reduce the impact of the fast Collingwood forward line with 1 on 1 match-ups and intercept marking.

West Coast have some big questions – mainly how does Gaff now fit into a premiership team? Dom Sheed has taken the Gaff’s role and has become arguably one of the most inform midfielders since the incident last season.

Will Gaff coming back in unsettle the West Coast midfield mojo?

Or will his comeback make West Coast even more dangerous in the midfield with his gut-busting running and lethal left foot delivery into the forward line?

Hutch will have his work cut out for him on Saturday night – but who will he go to? With an excellent job done on Sidebottom in the 2018 Grand Final it seems like he will be the target again – however, with Beams in the side this changes the dynamics completely. All West Coast midfielders are going to have to work as hard off the ball as on if they are any chance to win.

The Rucks

Grundy has started off the year much the same as last year and is still considered the #1 or #2 ruck in the competition.

With the Collingwood midfield at his feet stopping Grundy is a must if West Coast are any chance to win.

The jury on the acquisition of Hickey is still out. With a standout performance in round two and an unmemorable debut in round one – will the real Tom Hickey please stand up.

West Coast Eagles are the architects on how to stop All-Australian ruckmen, but that was with Vardy and Lycett at the helm. Can Hickey step into the shoes of Lycett and execute the same plan?

West Coast Eagles Attack

Ideally it would have been great to have Rioli running riot in the forward line on the weekend, however, the addition of Cripps is a big in for West Coast. His goal sense and forward pressure will be a welcome addition.

Paired with the unbeatable towers of JK/JD (when they played together in 2018 West Coast didn’t lose a game) and insert young star in the making Oscar Allen and Collingwood are going to have their hands full trying to stop the West Coast 3 talls.

The prediction

Although we’d love to back West Coast in, the revenge factor for the 2018 grand final loss, plus I think it would be hard for West Coast to bring in 3 players to play their first games for the 2019 season and be able to stop the attack and run of the Collingwood midfield.

Combined with the loss of Lycett being replaced with Hickey – Grundy could prove too influential on the day.

Collingwood by 13pts