Two narrow losers from last week will be hell-bent to open their 2015 account at Picken Oval this Saturday afternoon.
No doubt East Coast should be coming into this match with a win under their belt. They came to a grinding halt after doing the hard work in the second and third quarters, restricting Manly-Warringah to 2.8 while booting 9.2 themselves.
They say football is predominantly a mental game and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back this week.
They have class all over the ground with Trent Stubbs top of the pile. He kicked five goals and racked up the touches across half-forward in a dominant display.
Damian Charleston and Jack Dimery lead arguably the best half-back line in the competition, with Dimery registering his 100th game last weekend and finds plenty of the ball. Expect Magpies’ coach, Kevin Eynaud to charge a negating player with quelling his influence.
An area for improvement for the Magpies is in the ruck. Hugh McLean manned the post last game but divided his time between Division Two and Premier Division last year. The acquisition of Campbelltown’s Cameron Gordon should bolster the stocks but will have a tough job against Andrew Browning who imposed himself on the contest last week.
Western Suburbs went down to North Shore by a straight kick and will be bemoaning their third quarter where they conceded 4.7 to 0.1.
It was pretty evident however that Jake Ross will be a suitable replacement for Taylor Williamson with the Crib Point recruit taking the early lead in the Stan Milton Medal race with six goals. They will be looking for more avenues to goal with there only being three other goal kickers.
Paul Bevan was heavily marked by the Bombers and can expect another hard day at the office against the Eagles. As well as Gordon, fellow Campbelltown recruits Mitch Hogan and Aidan Bell should be better for the run given they were late additions to the Western Suburbs side.
In another good sign, Yannick Milligan-Saville was the best for the Magpies to further claims for he being one of the under-rated players of the competition.
Two sides that had lost by a kick in the opening round faced off at Picken Oval on Saturday afternoon when Wests hosted East Coast. But after first-round thrillers, this would be a one-sided contest, as the Eagles controlled the game from start to finish.
From the outset, the Eagles were sending the ball into their forward line. Their accuracy may not have been at the level they were looking for, with some opportunities squandered in a return of 4.7 for the quarter. But with their defence tight and scoring opportunities few and far between for the Magpies, it was enough to lead by 24 points at quarter time.
But the radar was fine-tuned at the first change, and the Eagles found their target in the second quarter with six straight goals. The Magpies were matching it around the ground with their highly-rated opponents, and also managed six scoring shots for the quarter, three of them goals. But by the time the half time siren sounded, the Eagles held a 39-point lead; and were looking solid.
The third term was all East Coast, with many of their big name ex-NEAFL featuring prominently around the ground as they signalled themselves as genuine contenders for this season. It was seven goals to two for the quarter, a 74-point lead at the last change; and a growing sense of momentum and confidence was forming in the Eagle camp.
The Eagles ran out of legs in the last quarter last week, but with such a big lead this time around there were no fears of history repeating. The sting had largely gone out of the game during the last quarter, but even going through the motions, there was no doubt the Eagles were back to their best. Three goals to one in the final quarter saw the final margin stretch to 88 points and lift the Eagles into an imposing percentage.
Scott Pierce cut holes in the Magpie defence to finish with seven goals and Andrew McConnell four; while around the ground, McConnell, Trent Stubbs and Andrew Browning were ball magnets all day. Josh Robinson, Taran Etto and Ryan Speed toiled tirelessly all afternoon for the Magpies, continuing to put effort in on a day when the run of play wasn’t going their way.
Courtesy Sydney AFL
Courtesy of Sydney AFL