Thursday night's game is a must-win clash for West Coast as they face the in-form Bombers, who are coming off the bye. The Eagles showed signs against Hawthorn last Friday that they are still a force to take seriously but with matches against Essendon, Adelaide, Fremantle, and the Sydney Swans in the next month they must start beating quality opposition if they wish to play in September. The Bombers are refreshed after a bye but would be wary of what occurred in 2012 when they were 8-3 at the bye, only to lose eight of their last nine and miss the finals. Essendon have won their past two matches at Patersons Stadium, both against Fremantle, but have not beaten the Eagles in Perth for 12 years. The Eagles will go into the clash without the No.1 ranked defender on the Official AFL Player Ratings, with Shannon Hurn ruled out for up to 10 weeks with an ankle injury.   

WHERE AND WHEN: Patersons Stadium, Thursday June 27, 6.10pm

R7, 2012: Essendon 16.17 (113) d West Coast 7.10 (52) at Etihad Stadium
R22, 2011: West Coast 20.14 (134) d Essendon 11.11 (77) at Patersons Stadium
R7, 2011: Essendon 16.10 (106) d West Coast 12.18 (90) at Etihad Stadium
R16, 2010: West Coast 20.12 (132) d Essendon 14.16 (100) at Etihad Stadium
R4, 2010: West Coast 15.11 (101) d Essendon 11.12 (78) at Patersons Stadium

1. The Bombers have won two of the past three clashes between the sides but the Eagles have won five of the past seven.

2. West Coast has dominated Essendon at Patersons Stadium, winning 14 of 16 contests including the past eight. The Bombers haven’t beaten the Eagles since round 21, 2001. 

3. Essendon coach James Hird was the Bombers' captain in that 2001 victory over West Coast, gathering 20 possessions and kicking two goals in an 89-point win.

4. Essendon is the No.1 ranked side in 2013 for uncontested possessions, averaging 148.6 per game; West Coast is ranked 17th, averaging 144.7 per game.

5. West Coast is ranked second this season for free kicks received with 250, while the Bombers are equal 15th with 209.

6. Essendon's Jobe Watson has been cruelled by the bye, slipping from fourth to fifth in the Official AFL Player Ratings this week. Eagle Nic Naitanui is up to ninth after another stellar performance against the Hawks. Naitanui is the only player in the top 10 who is not a midfielder.