Eagles mid says Tigers still the benchmark
West Coast midfielder Jack Redden says Richmond are still the benchmark team in the AFL, but insists the Eagles won't be daunted in Sunday's blockbuster at the MCG.
The Tigers (14-6) have won seven straight games to shoot up to fourth spot, and will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Dustin Martin this week.
Redden said the round 22 clash would be a big test for third-placed West Coast (15-5).
"They're the benchmark at the moment," Redden said of the 2017 premiers.
"Throughout the year each team has had stages in that top four or five. Richmond have got momentum at the moment.
"Their form is pretty similar to the previous couple of years, and they've got some key players back. I can't wait for it."
West Coast will start as underdogs despite boasting a hot recent record at the MCG.
The Eagles have won their past five matches at the home of football, including last year's epic five-point grand final win over Collingwood.
West Coast have also won three of their past four games against Richmond, including a 47-point triumph when the teams met in Perth last year.
Redden said the Eagles weren't scared of the challenge that awaits them.
"I don't think it's daunting. The boys know what to expect," Redden said.
"We know we're going to have to bring our A-game. Richmond are a quality outfit. I dare say they're going to be deep in finals."
Richmond have decided to hold back skipper Trent Cotchin (hamstring) for another week.
But Martin's return could set up a mouth watering duel against Elliot Yeo, who has performed strongly against some of the AFL's best big-bodied midfielders this season.
"That would be pretty special. There's only a few in the league who have that power and explosiveness," Redden said.
"If that eventuates, it would be pretty special to watch.
"We're very confident in Yeoey. I think he's a superstar.
"He's a gun player with a defensive attitude as well. That's massive for our team, and I think that stands up in big games."