AFL Round 1: West Coast v Sydney in A Bird Battle At Perth’s MCG


Squint a little when watching the broadcast from the brand new Perth Stadium, and the ground looks remarkably like Victoria’s MCG. They say that imitation is the best form of mimicry and even the playing surface is of a similar size. Has the WA Government created a stadium that looks like the MCG in the hope of snatching the AFL Grand Final from Melbourne?


There would be riots in the streets of Melbourne if this happened, but fortunately, the contract between the AFL and MCG to hold the AFL Grand Final extends to 2038, so there’s another 20 years to go before we need to worry about this type of issue.

Need some AFL ear candy? Listen to the Round 1 AFL Protected Zone podcast.

West Coast are expected to slide down the ladder this year but we can safely ignore what the pundits say and should wait until Sunday night to see what really is going to happen. Remember the Sydney Swans at the beginning of the 2003 season? Eighteen of 20 so-called experts predicted they would be the wooden spooners that year, but they reached the Preliminary Final and sowed the seeds of their 2005 premiership.

So what will happen on Sunday night at the new Perth Stadium, contributed by taxpayers to the tune of $1.5 billion? Subiaco Oval used to be known as West Coast’s ‘house of pain’ but it’s too early to start using that term to describe Perth Stadium. Nic Naitanui has been rushed into the side – a mistake in my humble opinion – and will be missing Josh J. Kennedy. They’ve got their other tall timber in Jack Darling, but West Coast seems to lack a little bit of grunt.

Sydney are most people’s tip in three key areas: top of the ladder after 22 games, reach the Grand Final, and win the Grand Final. Certainly, they’ve got a well balanced and very strong experienced team, but their lack of ruck depth will mean either the introduction of a new strategy to counter this, or trying to make a ruckman out of a non-ruckman, which is what they’ll be trying out with Dean Towers on Sunday evening. And Dean Towers is not a ruckman.

They’ve also made a mistake in rushing in Jarrad McVeigh into their line-up. Sure, he’s a talisman and stabiliser but the season is long and he’s getting old. Best to wait a couple of weeks. Sydney’s best is better than West Coast’s best and we think Lance Franklin should have a field day as Sydney turn up the heat and inflict some pain on the West Coast Eagles.

Last time:

  • Round 4, 2017. West Coast 13.13 defeated West Coast 10.5.


  • Eddy Jay: Sydney 28 points
  • Lintang Enam: West Coast, 14 points
  • Computer says: Sydney, 17 points
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