Where and when: Metricon Stadium. Saturday, July 4 (11.45am AWST)
TV: Live on Channel 7, Fox Footy, Kayo and the official AFL app from 11.30am AWST
What it means for the Eagles: Would there be a better way to kick-start our season than registering a win over arch rivals Sydney? A triumph over the Swans could very well reignite the Eagles and get the boys rolling ahead of their imminent return to Perth.
West Coast has generally performed well during NAIDOC Week throughout the club’s history. In fact, the Eagles boast a 70 per cent winning record (21 victories, nine losses, three byes) during the week-long celebration of Australian Indigenous culture. However, of those nine NAIDOC Week defeats, three have come at the hands of Sydney in 2000, 2003 and 2014.
The matchup: Brad Sheppard v Tom Papley
Sheppard has been the silver lining in what has been a difficult season restart for the Eagles. The dependable defender could very well be leading the club’s John Worsfold Medal race after four rounds following standout performances against Brisbane and Port Adelaide. He’ll have his hands full this weekend attempting to contain Sydney livewire Tom Papley, who has already bagged 10 goals this year and only trails Port Adelaide goliath Charlie Dixon (11 goals) in the Coleman Medal race. If Sheppard can blanket Papley on Saturday, West Coast will have a much better chance at collecting their second win of 2020.
It’s a big week for: Jake Waterman
The athletic 22-year-old will be eager to cement his spot in the starting 22 after missing out on selection for the club’s opening four games. Waterman possesses a big tank and the ability to work over his opponents with long runs up and down the ground. The Claremont product could also help straighten up the Eagles’ attack with his lead-mark style of play.
“NAIDOC week is a good chance for us as a club to show our appreciation of Indigenous players, what they mean to the competition and across the board.”— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) July 2, 2020
Tim Kelly pic.twitter.com/WBo4VCN19L
Big call: Tim Kelly lights it up in the club’s Indigenous guernsey, collecting 25-plus disposals and two goals.