Ins: Xavier Ellis from Hawthorn, Elliot Yeo from Brisbane.
Outs: Adam Selwood (retired), Andrew Embley (retired), Daniel Kerr (retired).
2013 Record – 13th on ladder – 36 points – 9 wins, 13 losses.
Stat Rankings –
Positive: 1st in hitouts, 1st in hitouts conceded, 2nd in tackles.
Negative: 16th in handballs, 14th in disposals.
Much like the Adelaide Crows the West Coast Eagles will be looking to forget 2013 and return to the form of 2012, which saw them widely tipped to go deep into the finals last season. The day before the 2013 season kicked off the Eagles were as short as $5.50 (Sportsbet) to win the flag and a best priced $7.02 (Betezy).
They lost 4 of their first 5 games to put paid to any chances of that happening and were a bitterly disappointing outfit for the vast majority of the season.
Nic Naitanui played only 11 games in an injury-plagued season and in many of those games he looked to be carrying the groin injury. He must stay fit for the Eagles to challenge for a finals berth and word coming from the West is that he’s still troubled by the same ailment.
The Eagles’ second star ruckman, Dean Cox, showed little sign of regression in 2013, with his numbers all holding up pretty well – from 2012 if not his peak of 2008 and 2009. Age catches up with everyone, however, and it would be no surprise to see a significant dip in the key numbers in 2014.
The aura of invincibility at Patersons Stadium they had built up over 2011 and 2012 completely deserted them in 2013 as they lost to mid-ladder teams Carlton, Adelaide, Richmond and Essendon as well as Fremantle twice, Hawthorn, Sydney and Geelong.
Josh Kennedy’s bizarre pronounced stuttering run up did not stop him scoring a personal best 60 goals at an average of 2.9 goals per game in 2013. He could well be looking at a Coleman medal at some point if he produces that sort of form in a winning team.
They say goodbye to John Worsfold as coach and welcome in Adam Simpson.
The draw for the Eagles is a favourable one and they should gain momentum by winning their first 3 games, against Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and St Kilda.
A new and unproven coach, a home ground that teams no longer fear to come to and a superstar ruckman with an injury that won’t go away. Things could be tough for fans of West Coast in 2014.