Eagles, Dockers both face challenges after gruelling derby shootout

West Coast could turn to rugged defender Jackson Nelson to replace injured running back Lewis Jetta for Saturdays potential blockbuster with Port Adelaide in Perth.

Lewis Jetta still has calf and ankle soreness.

Photo: AAP

Nelson is tipped for selection consideration along with rapidly emerging first-year on-baller Brayden Ainsworth with Jetta ruled out with another calf strain.

Jetta could even miss the Eagles' road trip to take on Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium a week later.

Nelson, 22, was emergency standby for Sundays Eagles derby win over Fremantle and was not released back to WAFL duties at alignment team East Perth.

He shapes as a potential to slip straight into the Eagles running defensive duties as well as offering his hard-nosed tackling and harassment to the crop of dangerous Port small forwards, Robbie and Sam Gray, Jake Neade and import Steven Motlop.


Port will be without small opportunist goal-ace Chad Wingard after he strained his hamstring in last Saturdays virtually untroubled win over North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

West Cost fitness and conditioning staff will race the clock to recover their stars in time to confront Port after a gruelling derby shootout, punctuated with heavy physical aggression, intense tackling and constant gut-running in one of the most competitive games of the season so far.

But, western derby history points to West Coast extending an unbeaten run now against Port.

West Coast notched a fifth straight win this season over their staunch rivals in the first ever derby at WAs new stadium last Sunday and now confront just a six-day recovery before tackling the in-form and dangerous sixth-placed Port.

The Eagles accounted for Port by 10 points after leading by more than five goals early into the third term in a gripping round seven cliff- hanger just a week after last seasons derby win.

And in 2016 the Eagles won both next appointments off six-day breaks from derbies, knocking off Richmond in Perth and then a thrilling one-point victory over Greater Western Sydney at Spotless on the back of a last-gasp scrambled goal from big ruckman Nic Naitanui.

West Coast boasts a strong overall winning ratio each week straight out of mentally sapping and physically bruising derby confrontations with the Dockers.

Engagements a week after derbies at home has West Coast with 16 wins and only seven losses over 23 years of derby showdowns at a hefty winning ratio at 69 per cent.

Alternatively, Fremantle face a horrid road record straight out of derbies ahead of their MCG appointment with reigning premiers Richmond on Sunday.

The Dockers have won just six times away from Perth at their next clash at only a 26 per cent winning ratio from 23 engagements.

But, the Dockers can turn to a healthy 4-1 winning record over the Tigers on their hallowed home turf under coach Ross Lyon.

A nerve-wracking after-the-siren set-shot goal from veteran star on-baller David Mundy secured last seasons downfall for the Tigers in round eight last year by just two points.

David Mundy kicked the match winning goal during the round 17 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Fremantle Dockers

Photo: Scott Barbour

The Dockers have a hefty 8-5 win-loss record at the “G” under Lyon since 2012.

Any Dockers winning hopes must be engineered without dashing forward and influential on-baller Michael Walters who is a casualty from the eight-point derby loss with his recurring left knee trouble and must be replaced.

Utility Tom Sheridan shapes as a potential replacement around goals and with his aggressive tackling and forward line pressure experience to off-set losing Walters.

Sheridan, 24, was an emergency heading into the derby and pressed claims for a recall with a near best-afield outing with 29 disposals for Dockers alignment team Peel Thunder against East Perth.

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