After a fifth-straight win, West Coast have firmed in AFL premiership betting. Are they now the side most likely to challenge favourites Geelong?

It’s taken a while, but the premiership defence is official gathering momentum. In drubbing the Dogs by 10 goals on the weekend, West Coast have emerged as one of the strongest contenders for the 2019 AFL Premiership. At $9 just a fortnight ago with Palmerbet, Adam Simpson’s side have shortened into $6.50. So, could they join Hawthorn and Brisbane as the only sides to go back-to-back since the turn of the century?

Back on track

After a stumble, the Eagles are back. Back in round five, they were belted to the tune of 42 points by Port Adelaide at home, despite starting as $1.21 favourites. The next week, they were again thrashed by premiership favourites Geelong (currently $3.40 with Palmerbet) by 58 points. It was at this stage that talk of a hangover was starting to rumble.

Since then, however, the Eagles have been clinical, registering five straight wins. Highlighted by a comeback win away at the Adelaide Oval, Simpson has seen a marked improvement. “I think what we’ve done the last month is we’ve played a brand of football that stands up in the big, tough games,” he said on the weekend. “It feels like we’re in a better space than we were four weeks ago. Our pressure has gone up. That doesn’t mean success, it just gives you a chance.” That ‘chance’ of success has certainly risen for the Eagles. They’re now into $3 to make the grand final on September 28. And with Naitanui coming back later in the AFL season, are they perhaps even better placed than last year to hold the silverware aloft?

Double chance beckons

History tells us that the first step in any quest for a premiership starts with finishing in the top four. And by winning on the weekend (alongside Richmond losing to North Melbourne), the Eagles are a game clear inside it. In fact, they’re equal on 32 points with the Giants in second and the Pies in third, behind the pair only on percentage. After the aforementioned losses in rounds five and six, the Eagles were out to $2.30 to make the top four with Palmerbet. But five wins on the trot has seen them shorten into $1.40. If they could squeeze into the top two (guaranteeing two home finals), it would have huge ramifications for the 2019 AFL season.

Jack is back

Key forward Jack Darling is officially back. After a solid start to the AFL season, Darling has gone bang in recent weeks, snagging three and six goals in round 10 and 11 respectively. The bag of six against the Dogs takes his season tally to 25, and fifth in Palmerbet’s Coleman Medal market. It’s also seen him shorten from $67 into $26. And while he’s got some way to go before catching Giants star Jeremy Cameron (38 goals, $1.90 favourite), the Eagles centre half-forward will be in amongst it come the end of the AFL season if he can maintain his current purple patch.

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