There are warning signs for the Eagles and Dockers heading into round 4 of the 2020 AFL Season.
In fact, the last win by either of them was back in Round 1 (in March) when West Coast soundly beat Melbourne at Optus Stadium before the shutdown.
Paul Persic previews all the action on the Gold Coast as both our WA sides aim to break their losing streaks.
PORT ADELAIDE VS WEST COAST
Saturday Afternoon at Metricon Stadium
West Coast are out of sorts at 1-3 heading into this clash with an in-form Port Adelaide on the Gold Coast and the biggest issue is their weakness in the midfield.
It’s a structural problem when it comes to winning the ball on their own ground stoppages, hence their losses to both Queensland teams in two weeks.
It’s all down to a lack of midfield intensity resulting in their forwards often going empty with lack of forward 50 penetration from their key clearance players.
It might prove tough against a Port Adelaide side that in bad conditions against the Dockers played the conditions better – they kept going down the line – whereas the Eagles cant play indirect and going round the round, risking simple turnovers.
Coach Adam Simpson has swung the axe after their loss to Brisbane last week with Will Schofield, Jack Petruccelle, Josh Rotham and Oscar Allen making way for Tom Cole, Tom Hickey, Jeremy McGovern makes his return to the side from suspension and former Cat youngster Jamaine Jones who played just 7 games for Geelong in 2018.
Port Adelaide’s run from the centre is looking great, as is their forward 50, led by Charlie Dixon who asserted himself with six Marks and all with pressure and skill.
McGovern has to go all in if he is to stop Dixon’s presence inside 50 while Gaff needs to prove why his workrate is no one hit wonder and provide support for Naitanui.
If he is down in form, Shuey must also lift his intensity in the stoppages but it will take one swift reversal of form to override this strong Port Adelaide side.
Paul’s Prediction: Port Adelaide by 17 Points.
GOLD COAST VS FREMANTLE
Saturday Night at Metricon Stadium
Fremantle appear to be in the worse shape then West Coast.
They are also lacking genuine match winners and grit inside their midfield rotation and it ain’t going to get easier because they are facing a Gold Coast side taking everybody by surprise.
With men like Matt Rowell & Ainsworth proving dangerous, the challenge for the Dockers is getting back into their gameplay that saw them become top contenders in 2014 & 2015.
They’ll also be hoping for dry conditions on Saturday Night because last week they were obliterated by Port in driving rain and could not sustain the ruthless Port forward pressure, which made the struggle to adapt to the conditions very difficult.
Fremantle have a big hole in their defence with Brennan Cox out due to injury and Sam Sturt also not available due to injury.
But Caleb Strong and Stephen Hill both come back in expecting to make a much needed impact in a season that started badly and isnt getting any easier.
With Cox out, it will be interesting to see how the Dockers structure their defensive 50 considering that he is one of their best undersized defenders, which is one of the gameplans that guided Collingwood to the 2018 Grand Final when Longmuir was an assistant coach.
However the Gold Coast side they are coming up against are on fire and have a sustainable brand of Football which is wowing the fans watching at home,the Dockers will find this Suns squad too hot to handle.
Paul’s Prediction: Gold Coast by 34 Points.