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Redden and waiting: Eagle wary of imposing Dees midfield

The Eagles were too good for the Demons in last year's preliminary final - AFL,West Coast Eagles,Jack Redden,Melbourne Demons
The Eagles were too good for the Demons in last year's preliminary final

WEST Coast midfielder Jack Redden doubts Melbourne will show signs of mental scarring when the teams cross paths for the first time since last year's preliminary final demolition this Friday night.

Both sides have endured form issues this season, but the Demons in particular have looked a shadow of the high-octane team which stormed to the penultimate week before being pummelled by 66 points at Optus Stadium.

Tipped by many to be premiership contenders again, Simon Goodwin's men are just keeping their heads above water at 3-5 after edge-of-your-seat wins over Hawthorn and Gold Coast.

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"They're probably starting to get the ball rolling again now," Redden told AFL.com.au

"It's been such a long time since (the preliminary final) and a lot's happened in their season and our season.

"I don't think there will be (mental) demons, but we've got to bring our best performance to beat them."

Redden believed the Eagles (5-3) were starting to find their mojo after wins over Gold Coast and St Kilda, led by a midfield that has gotten their hands dirtier in the contest.

"We were pretty average against Port Adelaide especially on that (Good) Friday night. I suppose it was a little bit embarrassing for us as a club," Redden said.

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"It's not what we stand for. We knew we had to improve pretty drastically to fix that up."

However, facing Melbourne's powerful engine room will be a step up in class and All Australian ruckman Max Gawn's imposing presence could see West Coast revert to a two-ruck system.

Meanwhile, Clayton Oliver – who had 38 touches, 15 tackles and eight clearances against the Suns – looms as the danger man for Elliot Yeo or Redden to mind.

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"I think Yeoy's quite accountable around the stoppage and he can nullify a gun mid's influence on the stoppage," Redden said.

"Or myself, I can play that role at the stoppage, and I think that's the most important part because that's where he's most damaging.

"If you let them get on top, they'll hurt you. 

"You look at Oliver's game last week – he can be so damaging – and he's a contested bull in there, and (Angus) Brayshaw knows how to find the footy and he's a linebreaker as well.

"We just need to match them and bring that contest and bring that energy.

"If we can get that right we're really competitive."

Coming off a superb third season in the west when he finished runner-up in the John Worsfold Medal, Redden has produced patches of his best football.

He is only slightly down on disposals (22 from 25.1) and clearances (3.6 from 4.8), although the ex-Lion hasn't hit the scoreboard after kicking 10 goals last year.

Like the Eagles, Redden is searching for consistency now he is on top of Achilles tendinitis that kept him out of the round six hammering in Geelong and needed cortisone injections to settle down.

"My numbers probably don't stack up quite as well as what I was going last year when I was peaking, but I started pretty slowly last year as well," Redden said.

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"If you can play well on the outside and inside it really helps my game, and I feel like I've got that flexibility.

"If I get both right it stacks up to a good performance. 

"I've played good footy this year and I just want to be a bit more consistent."