WEST Coast defender Will Schofield says watching close friend Matt Spangher win a premiership last season with Hawthorn has driven him to try achieve the same success this season.

Schofield was in the Hawthorn rooms with his former Eagles teammate Spangher after the Hawks won the 2014 Grand Final at the MCG.

He said he was proud of what Spangher had achieved and it had inspired him to try to do the same.

"It was the first time I had the feeling of … I wouldn't call it jealousy, but I was envious of what he was doing.

"It was definitely a driving factor this year.

"It's obviously a dream to get there, but that was a good moment for me to say, 'Well, this is what you're here for, that's what footy is for, to get to the pinnacle'."

The Eagles are one win away from their first Grand Final since 2006.

Schofield played in the Eagles' last preliminary final in 2011 but they were soundly beaten by eventual premier Geelong.

It might be a bittersweet experience for Schofield.

Serious knee injuries to Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown have seen him thrive in a new role as the Eagles' first-choice key defender this season.

He said Mackenzie and Brown had been in his thoughts as the Eagles prepared for the preliminary final.

"Those guys will be hurting, definitely," Schofield said.

"We've got to be excited for what we're doing, but keep in mind what they're going through as well, because they were both walk-in starters for us last year so it's going to be a pretty tough time for them."

Mackenzie has been back training with the group over the past fortnight and is in good physical shape, but he is not in any position to play after having a knee reconstruction in March.

Schofield said last year's best and fairest winner had been ever-present at games to provide advice during half-time breaks.

"He's been good for us, coaching, and we've been learning off him still," Schofield said.

"He's able to see things that maybe coaches can't, so you get the little insights and sometimes more direct feedback than the coaches are able to give you.

"That's the biggest thing for me, especially playing in his position. He can be really specific."

The Eagles are likely to confront one of the tallest forward lines they have faced all year with the North Melbourne side featuring Drew Petrie, Jarrad Waite and Ben Brown.

But Schofield had faith that the team defence they had implemented all season would stand up in the preliminary final.