West Coast veteran Adam Selwood is confident the club can defy history and win the AFL premiership even if they miss out on a coveted top-four spot.
The Eagles will secure either third or fourth spot and the vital double chance that goes with it if they can defeat ladder-leading Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday night.
But should West Coast lose and Collingwood defeat Essendon, the Eagles would slide to fifth.
That would pit West Coast in a home elimination final against either Geelong, North Melbourne or cross-town rivals Fremantle, who thumped the Eagles just over three weeks ago.
Under the current finals format, no team has won the premiership from outside the top-four.
Adelaide won the flag from fifth spot in 1998, but that was under a system where the fifth and sixth placed sides weren’t necessarily eliminated if they lost in the first week of the finals.
West Coast’s confidence is sky high following three wins on the trot, and the return of spearhead Josh Kennedy has fuelled hopes the Eagles can win the flag from anywhere.
“We’d like to be in the top four, but if we don’t (get there) we still feel as though we can win a premiership outside the top-four,” Selwood said on Monday.
“People write that you can’t, but we feel that we’re a strong enough side and the competition’s so even that on any given day you can beat anyone.
“It would be nice, but it’s not vital that we finish in the top-four.”
Kennedy booted just one goal from eight disposals in West Coast’s 49-point triumph over Collingwood on Saturday.
But Selwood said the 25-year-old, who had missed 15 weeks with an ankle injury, would improve dramatically over the coming weeks as he rediscovers his touch and builds his match fitness.
“He’s just a great focal point. So versatile,” Selwood said of the former Blue.
“He’s going to take a good defender away from (Jack) Darling and (Nic) Naitanui.
“He’ll get better and better.
“He had a long layoff over pre-season and came out and kicked seven goals (in his return).
“With the talent of Kennedy, he can do it any given week.”But while Kennedy’s season is only just getting started, the finals hopes of wingman Matt Rosa appear to be over after he fractured his collarbone against the Magpies.
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