AFL W2W4, Round 17: Why the Eagles will maul the Magpies

The red-hot Eagles host the spluttering Magpies to kickstart another huge weekend of footy.

Here's What To Watch For in Round 17.

Is more pain on the way for the Pies?

After two thirds of the season, West Coast's premiership defence is well and truly on track.

The Eagles have won eight of their past nine games and sit second on the ladder, but most importantly their list is much healthier than where it was 12 months ago. Nic Naitanui has returned. Brad Sheppard has returned. Andrew Gaff has returned.

The same can't be said about Collingwood who have lost two straight games and three of their past five to go from top-two locks to a side that could potentially miss the double chance, something which would be a huge blow for the pre-season premiership favourites.

A combination of injuries and stars out of form have led to the Pies' lean patch, and things don't get much easier this round as Nathan Buckley's side travel west to face the Eagles at Optus Stadium.

West Coast have won the last four encounters against Collingwood -- including the 2018 Grand Final -- and if we're to take anything away from the form lines, this one could be the most one-sided yet.

In their past three home games, the Eagles have scored 120.3 points on average, while the Pies have only hit that mark once all season. In fact, it's been almost two months since they've kicked a three figure score.

You just know Adam Simpson's side is going to post a sizable total ... we're not sure if Collingwood have the firepower right now.

Can Zac help Dons match North's inside bulls?

There are some eerie similarities between Essendon and North Melbourne ahead of their virtual elimination final at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

Both have won four of their past five games and sit just outside the top eight as they hunt a September berth. They also boast remarkably similar season averages, with the Bombers edging the Roos for clearances (38-37), contested possessions (147-146) and tackles (62-57) but North holding the upper hand in disposals (383-373) and inside-50s (53-52).

It all points to a nailbiter under the Marvel roof but one area where North could have an advantage is its ruckman and first-possession winners through the midfield.

Veteran Roo Todd Goldstein has turned back the clock this year and is again one of the game's best ruckmen and in recent weeks he's been able to offer silver service to North's hardnosed inside unit in Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell, Jy Simpkin and Jed Anderson. On Saturday, Goldstein will be up against journeyman Dons ruckman Zac Clarke, who battled in last week's win over Sydney and will find this week's opponent a much tougher prospect than makeshift Swans ruck Aliir Aliir.

If Goldstein can take Clarke to the cleaners, it could be the catalyst for another win for North which will solidify their finals hopes and also be another boost for Rhyce Shaw's full-time coaching aspirations.

Are Brissy legit or are we drinking the Kool-Aid?

The Lions are riding high. After their shock loss to Carlton, they've been clinical, beating St Kilda by 56 points, Melbourne by 33 points and most recently the Giants on the road by 20 points.

In fact, having now won three straight games, Brisbane have their eyes on adding a fourth and it would the first time they've managed that feat in almost a decade.

The last time the Lions won four consecutive matches was between rounds one and four in 2010; at that time, Brendan Fevola was kicking snags, Luke Power was in the twilight of his esteemed career and Tom Rockliff had played just a handful of games.

But facing the Power has its ups and down - literally. The negative for the Lions is that Port Adelaide was magnificent in the Showdown last week. They kicked the last nine goals of the game to sink the Crows and put their cross-town rivals' finals hopes in doubt.

The positive is that the Power are the most inconsistent team in the league, having alternated wins and losses for the past eight weeks. So, having won their last start, they must be due for a loss...

And if the Lions are as good as everyone is starting to think they are, they should overcome being the underdogs to escape Adelaide Oval with a vital four points.