Eagles not expecting shootout with Crows

They’ve both got forward lines oozing with talent, but West Coast coach Adam Simpson isn’t expecting Saturday night’s clash with Adelaide to turn into an old-fashioned shootout.

The Crows are the highest scoring team in the AFL, averaging 114 points per game over the first 11 rounds.

West Coast aren’t far behind with an average of 102 points per game.

But where the Eagles really excel is at home, where they’ve averaged 128 points per game.

All signs are pointing to a high-scoring affair when the Crows arrive at Domain Stadium on Saturday night.

But Simpson has other ideas.

“When is it ever a shootout?” Simpson said.

“North and Melbourne down in Hobart, that was a bit of a shootout (when the Kangaroos won 136-131).

“I don’t know how happy both coaches were that day. I don’t think it’s going to be a shootout.

“Adelaide’s attack, when it’s up and about, is second to none. We need to stop them scoring.”

The return of star Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern will be crucial to West Coast’s hopes of limiting the influence of tall timbers Josh Jenkins, Taylor Walker, Tom Lynch, and Mitch McGovern.

The quartet have combined for 96 goals this season.

But Simpson said goalsneak Eddie Betts, who has booted 28 goals, also required special attention.

West Coast have plenty of attacking weapons of their own, with last year’s Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy ably supported by Jack Darling and Mark LeCras.

Crows coach Don Pyke has intimate knowledge of West Coast’s list after spending two seasons at the Eagles specialising in strategy and structure.

But Simpson doesn’t think Pyke’s inside knowledge will have a major bearing on Saturday’s match.

“Pykey probably knows the make-up of our players a bit more. But I don’t think it’s a great advantage,” he said.

Simpson is confident Nic Naitanui will play despite the ruckman’s ongoing battle with Achilles tendon soreness.

Naitanui was on crutches earlier this week, and Simpson said the major issue was ensuring the 2012 All-Australian got enough loading into his legs in the lead-up to games.

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