Where and when: Mineral Resources Park, Sunday, August 20, 12:30pm

TV: Live streamed via the West Coast Eagles website and on the club app. Follow on social media @WestCoastEagles and @eaglesaflw.

Last time we met: West Coast 4.8 (32) def. by Essendon 13.6 (84) at Mineral Resources Park, round three, 2022.

It was a tough day out for the Eagles when they last met Essendon, falling by 52 points at Mineral Resources Park in round three of last season. Despite the scoreline, the emerging Eagles showed positive signs, with Ella Roberts (17 disposals) finding plenty of the ball, and Courtney Rowley (14 disposals and three tackles) playing an important role defensively. West Coast skipper Emma Swanson (25 disposals and 18 kicks) led the way for the home side, while Aimee Schmidt (six marks and two goals) had a crucial scoreboard impact.

What it means for the Eagles: West Coast’s players have dedicated a lot of hard work on the track and in the gym this pre-season, and this will be the first chance to see their efforts transition into a game environment. With Amy Franklin the only addition to the team this season, the squad is closer than ever, and connecting and gelling on a new level. Led by captain Emma Swanson and newly appointed vice-captain Bella Lewis, we’ll get a glimpse of what we can expect come round one, and how the team is likely to match up with the rest of the League this season.

The stat: Sarah Lakay (249 hitouts) finished with the second highest hitout average in the League last season and managed double the hitouts (20-10) against Essendon’s Stephanie Wales last time these two teams met.

Oppo in focus: Essendon midfielder Maddy Prespakis impressed last season, playing all 10 games and averaging 24 disposals and 12 kicks a game, and the home side will be looking to limit her presence around the ball. Bombers co-captains Bonnie Toogood and Steph Cain will also be on West Coast’s radar. Toogood is a force up forward and Cain’s speed and endurance can be damaging around the ground.

It’s a big week for: Eagles returning from injury

After significant time spent on the sidelines, it will be great to see Kellie Gibson, Evie Gooch, Shanae Davison and Lauren Wakfer back on the field in a game capacity after successful recoveries in the off-season.

Big call: New Eagles recruit Amy Franklin will kick multiple goals (three) in her first showing in the blue and gold.