AFL Betting: Depleted Eagles to be challenged
If history is any guide, it's hard to see the Kangaroos getting over the line in this one.
Going into their AFL match against the Kangaroos, David Murdoch poses the question: how many of the West Coast Eagles stars can they lose without their depth being severely tested?
Losing forwards Mark LeCras (knee) and Mark Nicoski (hamstring) was bad enough for John Worsfold, but how he fills the gap left by Josh Kennedy (ankle) could prove the difference for the ladder leaders.
Kennedy is scheduled to be out for up to three months, so the Eagles need to find a way of manufacturing more goals through Quinten Lynch and young star Jack Darling in the meantime. Expect Natinui and Cox to spend a bit more time up forward as well.
The Kangaroos announced their arrival as a threat to the big four with their shock win over the Cats in round three, but they followed that with a six-goal spanking by the Swans and an unconvincing win over the Suns, where their midfield were brutalised by league convert Karmichael Hunt.
If history is any guide, it's hard to see the Kangaroos getting over the line in this one. It's the toughest road trip in the game, littered with the carcasses of better teams than North Melbourne.
But Chris Scott's brand of hard-running fast ball movement could stretch the Eagles in the wide open spaces of Pattersons if they can get anywhere near parity in the clearances against Natinui and Cox.
• West Coast have lost their last thee matches on the line against North Melbourne by an average of 14 points
• North Melbourne have lost five of their last six matches at Patersons Stadium
• West Coast have won their last 13 matches at Patersons Stadium by an average of 45 points
North Melbourne has won just one of its past seven matches against the Eagles at Patterson's Stadium, but will be buoyed by what Richmond managed to achieve at Etihad last weekend as their misfiring forward line look to re-discover the form they showed against the Cats.