West Coast searching for away AFL success

Geelong hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for West Coast for almost a decade.

The Eagles haven’t won an AFL game at Simonds Stadium since 2006, when Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis made his debut and coach Adam Simpson was still playing for North Melbourne.

If that streak was on the mind of assistant coach Justin Longmuir, he failed to show it on the eve of Saturday’s clash at the venue.

“We haven’t really spoken about the last time we won here or the last we played here,” Longmuir told reporters.

“We’ve focused on the future. What we need to do this week.

“We’re really comfortable playing here. We feel like it’s a ground that is similar dimensions to our ground at home.

“So that shouldn’t cause much of an issue.”

The Eagles have only played four games in Geelong since their 2006 triumph, a record come-from-behind win for the club given they were trailing by 54 points.

But West Coast’s recent struggles outside Perth have given last year’s grand finalists an unwanted reputation.

“We’re not shying away from that (the club’s recent away record),” Longmuir said.

“It’s really tough in AFL, in an even competition, to win against top-four sides away.

“Our two away losses this year have been against two quality sides (Sydney and Hawthorn).

“We need to improve, we know that and we’re excited about the opportunity … we come up against a side in red-hot form. We feel like we’re in pretty good form ourselves.”

Jackson Nelson and Tom Cole travelled to Geelong as emergencies but Longmuir suggested there wouldn’t be any late changes.

“We’ve got a bye in the WAFL, East Perth,” he said.

“It’s a good opportunity to bring two Victorian kids home for a trip and for them to see what it’s like to travel.”

Josh Kennedy will be playing his 150th game for the club, with Cats defender Lachie Henderson well aware of the threat posed by “one of the best forwards in the comp”.

“There are names all around that forward line. It’s a great challenge for us,” Henderson told the AFL website.

“You want to play on the best and beat the best.”

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