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Where: Patersons Stadium, Perth
When: 8.40 (GMT)
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Adam Simpson will coach his first game for West Coast against a Western Bulldogs side that is expected to rise further in 2014 under Brendan McCartney.
West Coast finished 13th in 2013 but on exposed pre-season form, the Eagles could bounce back in a big way under their new coach.
It will be a big task for the Bulldogs on Sunday, but their young energetic midfield should enjoy the space and will match the Eagles in the clearance battles.
The toughest task for the Bulldogs will be handling the scoring power of the Eagles.
There will be a fascinating match-up in the ruck with last year’s All Australian Will Minson battling six-time All Australian Dean Cox, and potentially the 2012 All Australian ruckman Nic Naitanui.
Josh Kennedy (West Coast) – Will be looking to rebound from a below-par 2013, with his ability to turn chances into goals set to be key.
Sharrod Wellingham (West Coast) – As part of a new-look midfield, Wellingham is set to learn from his rusty 2013 season where he never managed to find full form and fitness.
Jack Darling (West Coast) – Has already shown glimpses of what he is capable of in the AFL, and if he spends more time in the mid as expected, he could have a bumper season.
Robert Murphy (Bulldogs) – Will be looking to set up plenty of run off half-back and his pin-point passing will be crucial.
Stewart Crameri (Bulldogs) – Will be looking to put his problems at the Bombers last year behind him and help add some punch to the Dogs forward line.
Will Minson (Bulldogs) One of the biggest improvers in all of the AFL last season, with his size, strength and hunger for the ball making him one of the best ruckman in the league.
1. Despite the most recent result, the Eagles have dominated the Bulldogs in the past three seasons, winning four of their last five encounters.
2. West Coast averaged 42 clearances per game in 2013; only the Sydney Swans averaged more. But the Bulldogs had the No.1 clearance player in the AFL last year in Tom Liberatore (183 clearances).
3. The Bulldogs were ranked second for hit-outs in 2013 behind the Sydney Swans. Will Minson was the best ruckman in the AFL last year with a total of 860 hit-outs for the season.
4. In 2013, West Coast lost nine of 12 games at Patersons Stadium, a record that equalled the Eagles’ second-worst season at home in their 27-season history.
5. Both teams were on the right side of the umpires’ ledger in 2013. The Bulldogs were ranked second for free kicks received with 443 while West Coast was third with 427.
6. Josh Kennedy (ranked No.132) and Jack Darling (No.147) kicked 102 goals between them last season yet they are ranked lower on the Official AFL Player Ratings than Bulldog forwards Robert Murphy (81) and Luke Dahlhaus (89).