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Eagles set to regain stars

Josh Kennedy is set to return to the Eagles' line-up for Sunday's big clash with Collingwood - Collingwood Magpies,Collingwood
Josh Kennedy is set to return to the Eagles' line-up for Sunday's big clash with Collingwood

Presenting all you need to know about the Eagles ahead of Sunday's blockbuster clash at the MCG:

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The Eagles lost their opening round match against the Sydney Swans, which was their first official outing at the new Optus Stadium, but they went on a great run from there, winning their next 10 games. The winning run included an impressive 47-point victory over the reigning premier, Richmond, in which they piled on 20 goals. Then came another form reversal, as they proceeded to lose their next three matches. They finally reversed that trend with a hard-fought 11-point win over Greater Western Sydney at Optus Stadium last weekend, and they head into Sunday's game against Collingwood in third place on the ladder.

What they're saying
All the talk out west has been about the Eagles' potential inclusions for their clash with the Magpies. The following story was published on on Tuesday:

The West Coast Eagles could have four big inclusions for Sunday’s crucial clash with Collingwood at the MCG.

General manager of football Craig Vozzo revealed that Josh Kennedy (knee), Jack Darling (ankle), Mark LeCras (wrist) and Tom Barrass (back) would all be given an opportunity to prove their fitness for the blockbuster round 17 fixture.

The experienced quartet will be available to face the Pies if they get through the club’s main training session on Thursday.

“Jack and JK are both tracking pretty similarly; we’re really pleased with both of their progress,” Vozzo said.

“They’ve had some heaving loading – Jack probably the last two-to-three weeks and Josh probably the last one-to-two – which they seem to be coping with. But we need Thursday to come around and for them to get through our main training session and we’ll make a decision after that.

“Mark has tracked really well, probably ahead of schedule. It’s a delicate one, but he’s been ripping it up on the track and he’s really keen to play as soon as possible. We’ll get some medical advice later in the week ... and see how he gets through training on Thursday.

“Tom Barrass is tracking really well now, finally. It’s been a long wait for everybody, including Tommy, but he’s now at a really good level. He’s trained the house down probably for a week and a bit. Assuming he gets through Thursday, which we are expecting he’ll be available for selection.”

Player to watch
Star Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff is enjoying a sensational season, and his effort against the Giants last weekend was probably his best yet. He finished the game with 41 disposals and two goals and later received the maximum 10 votes in the coaches' award.

Andrew Gaff celebrates kicking a goal against the Giants last weekend (AFL Photos)

Last time: Round 18, 2017 at Etihad Stadium
Match report excerpt: 
Collingwood has come from 18 points down with two fit men on the bench at three quarter time to upset West Coast in its bravest victory under Magpies coach Nathan Buckley.

Jordan De Goey was the match winner with four second half goals and a game-changing tackle that allowed Jamie Elliott to kick the goal that gave the Magpies the lead with just two minutes to go.

Collingwood kicked the final five goals of the game to win the dramatic contest 13.15 (93) to 13.7 (83) and tipped the Eagles out of the eight.

It also kept its slim finals hopes alive and shows the team has rediscovered the purpose it seemed to lose a fortnight ago.

On the other hand, West Coast were disappointing losing its fifth game away from home for the season and looking anything but a finals contender.

It appeared to have the game in its keeping with just 10 minutes remaining when Elliot Yeo ran into an open goal but he missed and the door was left ajar.

The Magpies worked through that door despite Darcy Moore being in hospital after injuring his neck three minutes into the second quarter and then losing Travis Varcoe to concussion just 10 minutes into the third quarter.

When Varcoe left the ground during the third quarter Collingwood was 15 points down and Josh Kennedy was dominating in his 200th game.

Kennedy had six goals on the board and looked to be leading a lack lustre Eagles to victory.

But Collingwood came alive sparked by De Goey who kicked two consecutive goals and lifted the Magpies, who were led brilliantly by Steele Sidebottom who was standing in as skipper for the injured Scott Pendlebury.

COLLINGWOOD          3.4       5.6       8.11     13.15 (93)
WEST COAST              4.2       7.3       12.5     13.7 (85)

Collingwood: De Goey 4, Elliott 3, Reid 2, Fasolo, Greenwood, Hoskin-Elliott, Adams
West Coast: Kennedy 6, Cripps 2, Darling 2, Yeo, Shuey, Vardy

Collingwood: De Goey, Treloar, Howe, Crisp, Grundy, Adams, Greenwood
West Coast: Kennedy, Sheed, Hurn, Yeo, McGovern, Shuey

Collingwood: Moore (neck), Varcoe (concussion, elbow)
West Coast: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Stevic, Deboy, Harris 

Official crowd: 22,927 at Etihad Stadium

Eagles player Elliot Yeo is tackled by Will Hoskin-Elliott during last year's game at Etihad Stadium (AFL Photos)