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Duff and Quarters: Make no mistake, West Coast are preparing for an almighty finals push

West Coast’s casualty ward is overflowing and may have Eagles fans down in the dumps as the AFL limps towards finals, but The West Australian’s chief footy writer Mark Duffield is far more optimistic of the club’s chances in 2020.

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Tonight is the Eagles’ final game within their condensed fixture, sitting (2-2) before facing St Kilda at the Gabba to complete a five-game run in 19 days.

Darcy Parish (left) of the Bombers is tackled by Luke Shuey (right) of the Eagles during the Round 15 AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Essendon Bombers.
Camera IconDarcy Parish (left) of the Bombers is tackled by Luke Shuey (right) of the Eagles during the Round 15 AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Essendon Bombers. Credit: DARREN ENGLAND/AAPIMAGE

The Eagles have lost the majority of their best midfield contributors with captain Luke Shuey, Dom Sheed, Mark Hutchings and Jack Redden all struck down with soft tissue injuries throughout this compressed period.

Win or lose against the Saints, the Eagles have a seven-day break before facing out-of-form North Melbourne to finish their home-and-away season. Another seven-day break follows before the first week of finals, potentially at Optus Stadium.

Duffield believes West Coast and every true contender’s chances of glory in 2020 is about surviving rather than overreacting to week-to-week form.

“You’d rather be fit and available than unfit and unavailable at this time,” Duffield told The Sunday Times’ Glen Quartermain.

Jordan de Goey of the Magpies reacts during an AFL Collingwood Magpies training session at Holden Centre in Melbourne.
Camera IconJordan de Goey of the Magpies reacts during an AFL Collingwood Magpies training session at Holden Centre in Melbourne. Credit: MICHAEL DODGE/AAPIMAGE

“A little while ago we talked about Collingwood, when Collingwood was going through the same thing.

“They had their compressed section of the fixture, they were getting up quickly between games and were losing players to injury.

“We spoke about just get yourself there in one piece.

“I think that’s what West Coast are going to do now, there were players the other night that were pulled out. Maybe they were injured or maybe they were just sore.

“To me West Coast look like a team that is gathering itself.”

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