Eagles preparing for tough AFL block

They’re sitting pretty in second spot, but West Coast aren’t kidding themselves ahead of a tricky stretch of games that could make or break their top-four hopes.

The Eagles have become one of the major surprise packets of 2015 after snaring six wins from their opening eight games.

However, with only one of those victories coming against a side currently sitting in the top eight, coach Adam Simpson is well aware the bigger challenges are yet to come.

West Coast take on Geelong (home), North Melbourne (away), Essendon (home) and Richmond (away) over the next month, and Simpson hopes his team will pass the test with flying colours.

“This next block is definitely a true indication of where we’re at,” Simpson told Perth radio station 6PR.

“We’ll get challenged in the next month, and it’s going to be interesting to see where the boys are at.

“We’ve been happy with our performances, without getting carried away.

“We are playing more of a stable brand of footy that hopefully stands up in pressure games.

“We can’t compete with the bigger sides if we don’t turn up and play in a certain way. The players are really clear on that now.”

The Eagles will be without Elliot Yeo for Sunday’s clash with Geelong in Perth after the in-form midfielder accepted his one-match ban for striking St Kilda’s Jimmy Webster in a marking contest.

The 21-year-old former Lion has played a key role in West Coast’s five-match winning run, averaging 22 possessions and two goals per game during that stretch.

Yeo’s injection into the midfield has proved to be a masterstroke move from Simpson, and his absence this week will be sorely felt.

“Yeo gives us a huge chop out,” fellow midfielder Luke Shuey said.

“He’s hard at the footy, he’s clean, and he uses the ball really well.

“There’s not much more you want from a midfielder.

“He can go forward and take a grab as well, which is just another weapon for him.

“He’s developed really quickly for us. We knew he was going to be a good player when we got him from Brisbane.”

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