Can these Eagles boldly go where no Eagles have gone before?

Can they do it again? Photo: Getty
Can they do it again? Photo: Getty

THE West Coast Eagles are a juggernaut.

With four premierships, they’re behind only Hawthorn for most flags won in the AFL era (since 1990).

They’ve played finals in 22 of the 29 seasons during this period, the best record in the league, and they’ve played in seven grand finals – equal best with Geelong.

But there’s one thing the Eagles have never done – won premierships in consecutive years.

Their best opportunity probably came in 1993, with a virtual state side comprised of legends like Worsfold, Jakovich, Matera and Kemp.

Graphic equalisation in Round 1 of the AFL

But the premiership success of 1992 came at a cost, with players struggling for form and fitness in 1993 before barely scraping into finals on percentage.

Worsfold and Malthouse celebrate the 1992 premierships. Photo: Getty

After another premiership in 1994, they ran into a phenomenal Carlton side that would cakewalk to the flag in 1995.

Their next chance for back-to-back premierships, in 2007, had echoes of ’93.

Ben Cousins missed the first 15 rounds of the season as he sought help for drug problems, Chris Judd only had half a groin and the team lurched to September before a straight-sets exit.

Which brings us to 2019 – and so far, save for a speed bump against the resurgent Brisbane Lions in round 1, the signs of a premiership hangover aren’t obvious.

The Eagles, again, had too much grunt for Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday night – and they still don’t look in peak condition.

Dom Sheed and Luke Shuey haunted Collingwood … again. Photo: Getty

Crucially, they still have Nic Naitanui on the comeback trail from his second knee reconstruction and – with all due respect to Nathan Vardy and Tom Hickey – West Coast could use a ruckman with a little more presence around the ground.

The electric Willie Rioli still hasn’t got on the park, and with a forward line comprising Oscar Allen (20), Liam Ryan (22) and Jack Petruccelle (19) – there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Dom Sheed is standing on the edge of greatness

On Saturday night they’ll come up against a Fremantle side buoyed by a gutsy win against St Kilda on Sunday.

The Dockers will likely be without their captain, after Nat Fyfe was KO’d in an accidental head clash with Saint Josh Battle.

Fyfe was injured during a third-quarter in which both sides threw themselves into the fray with zero regard for safety, and the sight of the sick and sorry star lurching to the boundary line was difficult viewing.

Nat Fyfe is helped from the field. Photo: Getty

Running machine Brad Hill also looked proppy at times, and one suspects the game may have sapped too much from the young Dockers as they look to win their first derby since 2015.

Nevertheless, if they can bring the same kind of heat as they put on the Saints, they’ll pose plenty of problems for the reigning premiers.

greig.johnston@communitynews.com.au