West Coast Eagles v Essendon Bombers Elimination Final Tips, Predictions and Match Preview - Premiers to remain alive

Adam Cusworth 30 Aug 2019
  • The Eagles and the Bombers feature in the opening match of AFL Finals Series. 
  • Here is our preview of the Thursday night Optus Stadium clash. 

The AFL Finals Series gets underway on Thursday September 5 when the West Coast Eagles take on Essendon in the First Elimination Final. 

The Optus Stadium clash gets underway at 8.10pm AEST or 6.10pm local time and all the action can be seen on Channel 7 and Foxtel. 

Match Preview


West Coast head into this as strong favourites but come off a Round 23 loss to Hawthorn by 38 points and will need to be at their best against an Essendon outfit that can surprise on their day. 

The Eagles were the better performed of the two sides over the course of the home and away season, winning15 of their home and away games, while Essendon registered 12 wins. 

Last year's premiers have a quality midfield and will just need to link better with their key players at either end of the ground to make it hard for the Bombers. They boast four All Australian players in Elliot Yeo, Jeremy McGovern, Shannon Hurn and Jack Darling. That quartet shape as key players. 

For Essendon to cause an upset they will need to get off to a fast start. The Bombers have shown that they are a confidence side and were competitive in their 11 point Round 23 loss to Collingwood, despite the fact they were missing a number of key players. 

Zac Merrett and Darcy Parish are among their midfielders that come in with good form, while Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Jake Stringer will look to produce big games in the forward half. 

Selection News


Alot of the interest at the Eagles selection will centre around Nic Natanui as the star ruckman makes his bid to return from an ankle injury. Shannon Hurn, Tom Barrass and Brad Sheppard have minor injuries but are expected to play. 

Essendon's Michael Hurley remains in doubt with a shoulder injury but Dyson Heppell, Orazio Fantasia, Jake Stringer and Cale Hooker are all expected to be back. 

Match Odds


West Coast $1.20
Essendon $4.40

*correct at the time of writing


Stats


West Coast took out the Round 14 encounter between the two sides this season by 35 points. That game was played at Optus Stadium and it was Dom Sheed and Elliot Yeo that starred for the winners. The margin in that game should have been a lot more as the Eagles were wayward in front of goal, kicking 14.22. Josh Kennedy kicked 3.5. 

Essendon have won two of their past three against the Eagles and were winners at Optus Stadium in 2018. However, the Bombers have a poor record in finals in recent seasons and have not won in September since 2004. On Thursday it will be 5478 days since Essendon won a final. Another loss and that number will rise by at least another 365. 

Prediction and Tips


It is hard to see how Essendon can pull this off. Look for West Coast to bounce back. 


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West Coast Eagles v Essendon Bombers Elimination Final Tips, Predictions and Match Preview - Premiers to remain alive

The Eagles and the Bombers feature in the opening match of AFL Finals Series. Here is our preview of the Thursday night Optus Stadium clash.

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