Even with the imminent return of some its stars, Mark Ricciuto thinks it might be a long journey home from out West after the Blues take on the Eagles at home on Thursday night.
West Coast has the opportunity to return to the top of the ladder when they play Carlton at Patersons Stadium on Thursday night.
The Eagles come off an eleven-day break, courtesy of the bye, and will no doubt be fired up after a disappointing showing against the Brisbane Lions.
Carlton will make their way across the Nullarbor having lost four of their last five games and sliding down to ninth on the ladder. They also come off three consecutive six-day breaks, which is far from ideal, particularly when travelling to Perth. The Blues may get some players back for this must-win game, with Robert Warnock, Heath Scotland, Jordan Russell, Bret Thornton and Andrew Carrazzo all a chance to play.
The Eagles will regain Luke Shuey from suspension, which will be a big boost after they missed his attacking run in Brisbane. Expect there to be some niggle as Chris Judd faces off against his old side, with Adam Selwood likely to get the job on his former skipper. Judd will need to lift against a strong Eagles midfield if the Blues are to be a chance.
Despite them winning five of their last seven games at Subiaco, I don't think the Blues will be good enough to knock off the Eagles given their extended break. The only thing that could stop the Eagles covering the line of 26.5 points is the weather, so check the weather and make sure it's not too wet and windy before you part with the cash!
On Friday night the Crows take on the Saints in a big game at home.
Like the Eagles, Adelaide will come off an extended break due to the bye so should be fresh, while the Saints will have just a six-day break after their 95-point win on the Gold Coast. Both sides will have near enough to a full list to choose from, with the Crows missing Bernie Vince through suspension, and the Saints welcoming back Ben McEvoy and Sam Fisher.
One of the Saints' big strengths has been their pacey small forwards, with Stephen Milne (22 goals), Terry Milera (12 goals) and Ahmed Saad (11 goals) proving a handful for defenders. Graham Johncock has gone forward in the past but expect him to go back to help shut down these three, which will be important given the forecast of wet weather.
Hopefully the weather won't impact too much, as it will be exciting to see up an up-and-coming forward like Taylor Walker at one end against a superstar in Nick Riewoldt at the other. The Crows will want to refocus after the break with a win, and while Friday night is a big stage, I think they are now mature enough to deal with this focus.
If the rain stays away, expect a refreshed Crows side to cover the line of 16.5 points.
GWS will host their second home game at Skoda Stadium on Saturday afternoon against Richmond and will be keen to continue their competitive start to the year.
The Tigers, who've given punters the odd headache this year, were disappointing against a hungrier Fremantle last week, and their trip to Sydney will be somewhat hampered without focal forward Jack Riewoldt.
They've come back to earth with a bit of a thud and will want to bounce back, but it's important they don't treat GWS lightly. The Giants have won their last five matches with the start at home, and I think they can do the same this week with the line being 58.5 points.
The break will have come at the right time for the young side, and the likely inclusion of number one draft pick Jonathon Patton will give them another avenue to goal.