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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Giants round 13 preview: The in-form Eagles

The GWS Giants will need to overcome the toughest challenge in the AFL if they are to get their season back on track against the in-form West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium on Sunday afternoon, 23 August.

The Eagles have a perfect 6-0 record at home this season and are well on track for another premiership assault having won their past seven matches.

The Giants, on the other hand, are coming off a dismal 41-point loss to the Sydney Swans at Optus Stadium last round, squeezing them out of the top 8 and giving them a tough challenge to even make the finals.

Last year’s Grand Finalists haven’t been able to get their game going all season, with their spluttering attack managing just three goals from 52 inside 50s against the Swans.

The ruck has been a major issue all season for the Giants, with the ageing Shane Mumford and Sam Jacobs sharing the duties and not being able to give their classy midfielders first use of the footy.

Jeremy Cameron has also been well below the standard he set during his 2019 Coleman Medal winning season where he booted 75 goals in 23 matches.

Cameron has kicked just 18 goals in 11 games this season and managed just five disposals and one fortunate goal last week.

The Giants had a lack of connection between the midfield and forwards last week, but they will need to fix it quickly if they are to have any chance of beating the red-hot Eagles.

The Eagles have no such issues kicking goals, averaging 13 goals a game over the past four matches with spearhead Josh Kennedy booting 15 of his own in that period.

The Eagles started the season 1-3 but are now into 4th position on the ladder and are the new premiership favourites coming into round 13.

The midfield battle will be intriguing with both sides boasting a number of star players, but the main advantage for the Eagles will be Nic Naitanui in the ruck.

Naitanui is in All Australian form this season and has provided the likes of Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly, Elliot Yeo and Andrew Gaff quality service from stoppages.

The Giants have the names to match the Eagles midfield with Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Tim Taranto and Lachie Whitfield all elite players at their best, but have been out of sorts recently as a group.

The contest in the midfield is always pivotal to the outcome of matches and the Giants will need to be at their absolute best to beat this formidable Eagles outfit.

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