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Eagles in box seat for NAB Cup final
Eagles in box seat for NAB Cup final

West Coast's ability to draw a large crowd and their busy travel schedule throughout the season have them in the box seat to host the NAB Cup grand final if they beat St Kilda at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night.

The unbeaten Eagles are second on the NAB Cup ladder, equal on points with top team Adelaide but behind the Crows on percentage.

Adelaide face Collingwood at AAMI Stadium on Friday night and Crows fans must show their support at the ground to increase the club's chances of hosting the grand final if they are successful against the Magpies.

AAMI Stadium has hosted three pre-season grand finals, with crowds of 35,304 when Port Adelaide beat Brisbane in 2001, foll- owed by 30,707 for Geelong's victory over Adelaide in 2006, and 26,823 when St Kilda overcame the Crows in 2008.

Just 12,532 attended the round-one games between Adelaide, Port Adelaide and Carlton this year, compared to 27,581 for West Coast's series with Fremantle and Essendon. The Eagles' game against Port Adelaide in Mandurah on Saturday sold out in advance.

The AFL will decide which team hosts the grand final this year and spokesman Patrick Keane said the league would consider a range of issues this weekend.

"It's our call. We'll base it on where we think we'll get the best crowd and we'll look at travel load throughout the NAB Cup and throughout the year," Keane said.

"We'll also look at what's best for the broadcaster."

The Eagles haven't played in a pre-season grand final since losing to Carlton at Etihad Stadium in 2005.

West Coast are the only team that hasn't been asked to travel in the preliminary rounds, but the Eagles do fly interstate for round one against the Western Bulldogs.

The Crows' first match of the home-and-away season is on the Gold Coast.

Hawthorn are third on the NAB Cup ladder, one win behind the Eagles and Crows, and play Melbourne this week. The Hawks' percentage of 194.12 is clearly the best in the competition.

Fremantle are fourth and can advance to the grand final and give WA fans a derby play-off (provided West Coast do their part) if they beat Port Adelaide in South Australia, Collingwood defeat Adelaide and Melbourne topple Hawthorn.

They must also rely on Geelong and Sydney not beating Richmond and Essendon by margins significant enough to increase their percentages.

The Eagles will consider adding ruckman Nic Naitanui, midfielder Matt Rosa and defensive trio Beau Waters, Sam Butler and Adam Selwood to the line-up this week.

Young defender Jacob Brennan has been cleared to play after the AFL match review panel dropped his forceful front-on contact report from Saturday's game.

"We'll base it (venue decision) on where we think we'll get the best crowd and we'll look at travel load."" AFL spokesman Patrick Keane