West Coast are desperate to show they can match it with the AFL’s big boys, and they want Port Adelaide to become their first major victims.
The Eagles have been dubbed the league’s ‘flat track bullies’ for their knack of thrashing lowly sides but falling well short against finals contenders.
West Coast failed to beat a single side who finished in the top eight last season.
And in their round-three clash with Fremantle this year, the Eagles conceded the first 11 goals of the match to be blown out of the contest.
West Coast have regained their winning mojo over the past fortnight, recording comprehensive victories against Brisbane (53 points) and GWS (87).
But the team are well aware they’ll need to beat the Power in Adelaide on Sunday if they are to regain widespread respect.
“We want to challenge ourselves against the best,” midfielder Matt Priddis said on Monday.
“Port Adelaide were a kick away from a grand final last year, and there is no better time to stand up and really compete well against this side.
“We need to win as many games as we can to play finals footy.
“That means we have to beat some real quality sides.
“We were the first to put our hands up and say that (performance against Fremantle) was unacceptable.
“We were completely outplayed in that first half and I think we’ve taken a lot out of that and we get an opportunity this week to hopefully show that we’ve improved.”
Priddis is confident star forward Josh Kennedy will be able to overcome an elbow injury in time to face the Power.
Kennedy hyper-extended his right elbow early in the match against GWS, but he returned and finished with six goals to keep his spot at the top of the Coleman Medal race.
“He seems to have pulled up pretty well,” Priddis said.
“He’ll be managed throughout the week. At this stage, I think he’ll be fine.”
Defender Will Schofield (ankle) is another player West Coast will have to manage during the week.
The Power have bounced back to form with recent wins over North Melbourne, Hawthorn, and Adelaide, and they’ll start as hot favourites against the Eagles.
Priddis, who won last year’s Brownlow Medal, said the midfield battle would be crucial in deciding the winner of Sunday’s match.