The West

Eagles set handball trap for Roos
Eagles set handball trap for Roos

West Coast are planning to set a handball trap they hope to slam shut on North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena today.

Both teams were wary yesterday about the impact the forward press could have on the match.

West Coast defensive coach David Teague believed the press, at its best, could be fatal for the Roos.

North captain Andrew Swallow conceded the danger, but said working through it would hold the key to his team causing an upset.

The Eagles have been vulnerable to out-the-back goals when teams have been able to move the ball quickly from defence.

But Teague warned that handball-happy teams could quickly fall victim to the press.

"It plays into it," Teague said before a brief training session at Blundstone Arena yesterday.

"If our press is up and going, it works. But if they get through, if we're one or two metres off, it can make our press look silly because they can get out the back and score easy goals.

"The challenge for us is that if we're up and going our press is good and it may play into our hands, but if we're off North could really tear us apart. We want to play the game on our terms."

Swallow said a 25-point loss to West Coast in round six at Patersons Stadium had given an insight into what to expect today. He promised the Roos would be ready at a ground his club wanted to turn into a blue-and-white fortress.

"We think we've got a pretty good handle on how they go about things," Swallow said.

"We know they're a great defence and like to press right up the ground and really try and trap you in the forward half.

"It (North's handball use) may give us an advantage at times, but we've also got to be careful because we can turn the ball over pretty easily if their pressure is good."

Swallow also admitted to being a childhood fan of today's 200-game milestone star Daniel Kerr, but believed North could continue to keep his influence to a minimum.

Teague has played and coached at the Northern Bullants in the VFL when they ventured to Blundstone Arena. He said training at the WACA Ground this week helped refine tactics for the ground, which is 15m shorter and 2m wider than Patersons Stadium.

Teague also said the decision to leave Adam Selwood in Perth to play for East Perth in the WAFL for the first time in five years had been a sign of the pressure building on the club's defenders to nail down a position for the finals.

"We've probably got 10 defenders at the moment who we would be very comfortable playing. The great thing when they have missed out this year is the way they've gone back and handled it," he said.

The West Australian

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