Eagles aware odds against them in daunting 21,000km finals challenge

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West Coast captain Shannon Hurn knows history is not on his team's side heading into Saturday's AFL semi-final against

eagles-aware-odds-against-them-in-daunting-21000km-finals-challenge photo 1 Photo: Shannon Hurn says West Coast needs to produce a full four quarter effort against GWS. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

West Coast Eagles captain Shannon Hurn knows history is not on his team's side heading into Saturday's cut-throat semi-final with Greater Western Sydney.

The Eagles have already been beaten twice by the Giants this season.

They went down at home in round 10, and also in round 22 at the Sydney Showgrounds — the venue for Saturday's clash.

Both matches were close until the dying stages, and Hurn said the Eagles must produce a full four-quarter effort to have any chance of defeating the hosts.

"The thing you need to do with any team, but especially GWS, is just make sure you play out the whole game," Hurn said.

"We'll get momentum, they'll get momentum.

"It's all about making the most of it when you have it, and when they have it you just want to try to nullify it a bit."

The Eagles have been given a major boost ahead of the match, with Giants pair Jeremy Cameron and Shane Mumford ruled out with injury.

But history does not favour a West Coast win.

Since the AFL introduced the current finals system in 2000, only five clubs — Hawthorn in 2001, Collingwood (2006), Port Adelaide (2014), North Melbourne (2015), Western Bulldogs (2016) — have made a preliminary final from outside the top four.

Of those five, only the Western Bulldogs went on to play in the grand final, and none of the teams encountered the travel demands now facing West Coast.

Already recovering from the trip to Adelaide, a win in Sydney on Saturday would see the Eagles head to Melbourne for a preliminary final against Richmond.

Should they prove successful there, they would need to return to Melbourne the following week for the grand final.

eagles-aware-odds-against-them-in-daunting-21000km-finals-challenge photo 2 Infographic: Adelaide Crows have a 37.9 per cent chance of being 2017 premier.

A win would be unprecedented in the circumstances, with the four-week travel plan comprising more than 21,000 kilometres in the air and eight time zone changes across four weeks.

But Hurn said he was just preferring to focus on the task at hand.

"To play good footy and to win finals, and hopefully ultimately be able to win a premiership, you've got to be able to win away the majority of the time," he said.

Eagles up to the challenge: Yeo

Eagles defender Elliot Yeo said the players were up for the fight.

"It's going to be a little bit of a different type of routine that we're used to," he said.

"But it's finals footy and because we finished eighth on the ladder, that's what we have to do in order to get to the big stage."

Yeo dismissed the Giants' poor showing in their qualifying loss to Adelaide as an aberration and said he expected a hard contest right from the first bounce.

"I'm sure they're looking to rectify certain things they need to work on. It's going to be a tough battle and we need to be up for the challenge," she said.

eagles-aware-odds-against-them-in-daunting-21000km-finals-challenge photo 3 Photo: Elliot Yeo dismissed the Giants poor showing against Adelaide. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)

Both Hurn and Yeo have put together career best seasons in 2017, combining with West Coast's fellow defenders to provide drive off half-back.

Hurn said the renewed form of Eric McKenzie had played a key role in the redevelopment of the team's defensive unit.

"As a team in the backline, you've got to have a couple of blokes that can lock down players and a couple who are a bit freer," he said.

"But you're all expected to defend when you've got to defend.

"And then when you've got a chance to use someone's strength like Gov's [Jeremy McGovern] marking or Yeo's marking or somebody's run, you always try to use that."

The Eagles will fly to Sydney early on Thursday afternoon with team selection to be announced a short time later.

Hurn said he would be surprised if there were many changes to the side that eventually accounted for the Power.

"If you're playing good footy, winning as a team and doing your bit, it's always very hard to change a winning team," he said.

"That's what it's all about."

eagles-aware-odds-against-them-in-daunting-21000km-finals-challenge photo 4 Video: Luke Shuey free kick seals Eagles win in overtime (Photo: AAP) (ABC News)

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