West Coast will look to stay nestled inside the top four with a third straight win over Melbourne in Darwin on Saturday night. The Eagles are in a rich vein of form and are ranked second for points scored in 2015, with Josh Kennedy, Mark LeCras and Jack Darling all dangerous inside forward 50. The Demons will be looking to build on their 24-point win over Geelong at Simonds Stadium before the bye week. Melbourne is a much more competitive team under Paul Roos this season, with Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince in stellar form through the midfield. Youngsters Angus Brayshaw and Jesse Hogan are also enjoying standout seasons and have been a big reason behind Melbourne's big improvement in 2015.
WHERE AND WHEN: TIO Stadium (Darwin) Saturday July 4, 7.10pm ACST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for TV and broadcast guide
PAST FIVE TIMES
R22, 2014, West Coast 18.11 (119) d Melbourne 8.5 (53) at Subiaco Oval
R2, 2014, West Coast 18.15 (123) d Melbourne 4.6 (30) at the MCG
R3, 2013, West Coast 27.15 (177) d Melbourne 13.5 (83) at the MCG
R2, 2012, West Coast 25.16 (166) d Melbourne 9.4 (58) at Subiaco Oval
R21, 2011, West Coast 16.14 (110) d Melbourne 9.8 (62) at Etihad Stadium
THE SIX POINTS
1. Melbourne has struggled moving the ball forward in 2015; ranked last in the competition for inside 50s. The Demons are also ranked 15th for points per game and 17th for marks inside 50.
2. The Eagles are ranked third for inside 50s in the AFL in 2015, second for scoring and fifth for marks inside 50.
3. The Demons have played five times at TIO Stadium for two wins, but their last win came in 2011. West Coast will be playing its first premiership season game at the venue.
4. West Coast has three players ranked inside the top five for goal assists in 2015 - Mark LeCras, Josh Kennedy and Matt Priddis. Melbourne’s highest ranked player is Angus Brayshaw at 14th in the competition.
5. West Coast has won its past seven games against Melbourne by an average margin of 70 points.
6. Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui was the top scoring player in the Official AFL Player Ratings when his side defeated Richmond by 20 points in round 12.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR… Max Gawn. Gawn was outstanding against the Cats in round 12, with 44 hit-outs and a career-high six contested marks. Coach Paul Roos said Gawn's challenge is to repeat those performances consistently. What better way to live up to those expectations against Nic Naitanui, one of the competition's best tap ruck work. Naitanui's ability to find his midfielders in space with clean hit-outs has been significant in West Coast's improvement in 2015. If Gawn can nullify Naitanui's influence in the ruck, it will go a long way to Melbourne being competitive in the top end.
PREDICTION: West Coast by 27 points