Will West Coast secure its finals berth? The stakes will be high at Western Derby LIII on Sunday, with Fremantle also pushing for a spot in the eight.
In a bizarre ending to Round 21, West Coast’s match against Melbourne was postponed due to lightning during the last quarter, with the Demons leading by five goals.
After the break, the Eagles kicked the last four goals, although they eventually fell nine points short.
West Coast defender Tom Cole spoke about its last quarter purple patch and what they can take from it going forward.
“Yeah, I suppose we can build some momentum off it, it was a style of footy that we want to play like consistently, and hopefully we can bring it into next week,” he said.
With West Coast in a precarious position going into the final two weeks, Cole has backed in the team’s abilities as it attempts to earn a spot in the finals for the seventh consecutive season.
“We have confidence in our ability when we play at our best, I think we showed that in the fourth quarter [of the game against Melbourne]. So, if we can consistently play like that, that’s the goal [finals],” he said.
“The good teams play consistently every week, for four quarters. So, if we can bring that same mindset and intensity that we did in that fourth quarter for the rest of our campaign, then the sky’s the limit.”
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Should Tom Barrass and Luke Shuey return to the side in the final two weeks, West Coast’s finals push will receive a major boost.
Cole spoke about Barrass’ recovery and his potential of taking his spot in the side come Sunday, as well as what the return of the captain in Shuey will provide.
“I’m not sure what the go is with TB, but he was training with us today, so fingers crossed he’s back this week but I’m not 100% sure,” he said.
“[Shuey] he brings so many things to our team, obviously he’s the captain of the club, so that leadership in the midfield there, and then his footy stuff inside, his speed, his skill. He’s an all-around player and it’s nice to have those in your team.”
The Western Derby is something West Coast has dominated in recent years. It is currently sitting on an 11-game winning streak in the clash and won quite convincingly in its first meeting with Fremantle in 2021.
But Cole says recent form or the winning streak in the Derby does not get any airtime around the club.
“We don’t really talk about it a whole lot, it is what it is, and we’re presented with a different challenge every time we play Fremantle,” he said.
“Footy’s changing- from what happened the last time we played them to now, it’ll be a different game. It’s always changing, so it’s not something we talk about, no.”
Western Derby LIII is on Sunday at Optus Stadium.
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