Eagles-Saints could get messy
Eagles-Saints could get messy

West Coast coach Adam Simpson is predicting a scrappy affair when his side takes on St Kilda at Patersons Stadium tomorrow, with contested ball likely to be the key to securing a 3-0 start to the season.

Both the Eagles and Saints are going into the game with a 2-0 record.

While the home side are raging favourites with the bookmakers, Simpson said he’s expecting the Saints to be up for the fight.

“The feeling we’re getting is they’re coming over to challenge,” he said.

“It’s going to be a reasonably tight, contested game I would have thought.

“They're going to come over to hunt and we're ready for it but I don't think it's going to be one of those games that just opens up.

“I think it's going to be pretty tough.”

The Eagles are ranked ninth in the competition for contested possessions, while the Saints are ranked 13th.

Simpson said the other major challenge facing the Eagles would be Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt, who leads the Coleman medal tally with eight goals from his first two games.

“He's in really good form,” he said.

“I think he's involved in almost half their scores, whether he's kicking for goal or setting them up.

“I don't know if he's the difference. But if he plays well, they're a fair chance of winning.”

West Coast made only one change to the side which belted the Demons by 93 points, bringing last week’s travelling emergency Brant Colledge into the side to replace injured defender Shannon Hurn.

The teenager played regularly for the Eagles during the pre-season and starred for East Perth in the first round of the WAFL.

Simpson said Colledge was one of the players being considered for the substitute vest this week, with Brad Sheppard likely to replace Hurn in the backline.

The West Australian

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