West Coast coach Adam Simpson has a headache – and merely stopping Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield won’t be enough to ease the throb.
The Eagles will be aiming to shake off their recent road kill reputation when they take on Geelong at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.
Prized recruit Dangerfield and Cats skipper Selwood have played key roles in Geelong’s barnstorming 5-1 start to the season.
Dangerfield is the early Brownlow medal favourite after averaging 30 possessions to go with his seven goals over the opening six rounds.
Selwood has also been influential, and his combination with Dangerfield has posed all sorts of problems for rivals.
But with the likes of Josh Caddy, Jimmy Bartel, Cameron Guthrie, Mitch Duncan, Steve Motlop, and Daniel Menzel also racking up big numbers in recent weeks, Simpson knows his team will be made to pay if they put too much focus on Selwood and Dangerfield.
“It’s been one of the major turnarounds for Geelong – the contest, the clearances, and the game played in their half,” Simpson said.
“No doubt those two (Dangerfield and Selwood) are part of it. We need to be aware of their strengths, of those two in particular.
“But the depth of their list – and in particular throughout the midfield – is pretty strong.”
West Coast should have a clear edge in the ruck courtesy of Nic Naitanui, but the battle at ground level will play a key role in deciding the winner.
The Eagles haven’t won at Simonds Stadium since 2006; losing their past four matches there by an average of 64 points.
West Coast have already lost on the road to both Hawthorn and Sydney this season, but Simpson denies the team’s poor away record of late has anything to do with preparation.
Geelong will enter Saturday’s clash brimming with confidence following their 120-point shellacking of Gold Coast last week.