West Coast have an axe to grind heading into an elimination final against the Western Bulldogs, but they won’t be relying on their home ground advantage to get the job done.
Domain Stadium has become an AFL graveyard for the Bulldogs, losing their past seven matches at the home of West Australian football.
Four of those losses have come against West Coast by an average margin of 84 points.
West Coast enter Thursday night’s re-match as hot favourites.
But Eagles coach Adam Simpson is wary of a Bulldogs outfit that gave his side a reality check when they met at Etihad Stadium in round 11.
Although the Bulldogs won by eight points, they obliterated West Coast’s midfield, winning the contested possession count 153-114, and overall disposal count 446-332.
“We got beaten up that day,” Simpson said.
“We were disappointed with our efforts in that area.
“It wasn’t just the midfield. It was everywhere.”
The Eagles have lost one game at home this season – to Adelaide in round 12.
West Coast’s dominant record against the Bulldogs in Perth means all signs point towards another easy win.
But Simpson isn’t one for relying on the past to dictate the future.
“They’re irrelevant, really,” Simpson said of West Coast’s big wins over the Bulldogs in Perth.
“I mean, from last year, everyone has changed, everyone moves on.
“I’m sure they don’t care about form interstate. It’s a final, so they’ll be playing at their absolute best.”
The Bulldogs could recall five players for the winner-takes-all clash.
Tom Liberatore (ankle), Easton Wood (ankle), Jordan Roughead (calf) and Jack Macrae (hamstring) appear to have won their battle against time to be fit.
And forward Jake Stringer is set to be recalled following two solid hit-outs in the WAFL.
Forward Tom Boyd, who injured his ankle in the recent loss to Fremantle, is expected to be fit for selection.
West Coast’s only injury concern is ruckman Scott Lycett, who has been battling a knee injury since midway through the season.
Lycett was clearly hampered in recent wins against Adelaide and Hawthorn, and he may require surgery at the end of the year to fix the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Simpson expects Lycett to be fit to tackle the Bulldogs.
But if Lycett is a late scratching, then defender Mitch Brown will be employed as a pinch-hitting ruckman to support Jonathan Giles.
BULLDOGS’ TALE OF WOE IN PERTH SINCE 2011
*Rd 23, 2016 – Lost to Fremantle by 20 points
*Rd 21, 2015 – Lost to West Coast by 77 points
*Rd 1, 2014 – Lost to West Coast by 65 points
*Rd 6, 2013 – Lost to West Coast by 70 points
*Rd 15, 2012 – Lost to Fremantle by 38 points
*Rd 9, 2011 – Lost to West Coast by 123 points
*Rd 5, 2011 – Lost to Fremantle by 7 points