Journeyman ruckman Jonathan Giles is on the cusp of making his debut for his third AFL club – and it’s all thanks to a punch.
West Coast ruckman Scott Lycett is almost certain to be suspended for striking Richmond’s Ty Vickery in the jaw during Friday night’s 68-point win at Domain Stadium.
Although the force of the hit wasn’t overly significant, the high nature and intent of it is almost certain to lead to at least a one-week ban.
Giles was lured to West Coast at the end of last season to fill the void left by Callum Sinclair, who was traded to Sydney.
Coincidentally, the Eagles play the Swans at the SCG next Saturday in a match crucial to the top-four hopes of both teams.
Giles played 51 games for GWS over three seasons, before adding three last year with Essendon.
The 28-year-old arrived at West Coast as the club’s third-choice ruckman, but Lycett’s likely suspension is set to thrust Giles into the team as Nic Naitanui’s back-up for the clash with Sydney.
West Coast looked every bit a premiership contender against the Tigers, winning the inside-50m count 60-27 despite the late withdrawal of Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis (groin).
Eagles coach Adam Simpson is hopeful Priddis will be fit to return against Sydney.
West Coast have lost in each of their past six visits to the SCG, with their last win there coming in round 9, 1999.
The last time they played at the venue was in 2010, when they copped a 52-point hammering.
“It’s probably the biggest test in the comp at the moment, outside of playing Hawthorn at the MCG,” Simpson said.
Overall, West Coast have lost their past three games on the road, including two losses to Hawthorn at the MCG.
The Eagles have become a dominant force at home, but Simpson wants them to carry that form away.
“We’ve been travelling pretty well the last couple of years, but the last four or five games interstate haven’t been great for us in terms of playing at our best,” Simpson said.
“So we’ll address that this week and how we prepare and maybe tweak a couple of things.
“But I’m glad we responded (with wins against Fremantle and Richmond) after such a poor performance against Hawthorn (in round two). We’re probably over that one now.”