Scott Pendlebury will lead the way for Collingwood on the biggest stage, Jude Bolton says. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP
Scott Pendlebury will lead the way for Collingwood on the biggest stage, Jude Bolton says. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP

Eagles need to start fast to quiet the crowd

A FAST start will be key to West Coast breaking a Victorian dominance of flag wins, two-time Sydney premiership player Jude Bolton says.

The Eagles are not only 3400km away from home, they will be entering a cauldron of Collingwood supporters ready to turn up the heat at the MCG.

Bolton's Swans were the last non-Victorian club to claim the premiership (2012) - and the only one in the past 12 years - despite the past six grand finals being "interstate" clashes.

"An away trip can certainly galvanise you," Bolton said.

"But in many respects, it's similar to last year and the year before, with Richmond (against Adelaide) and the Bulldogs (against Sydney).

"That wave of support is incredible. It certainly comes down to the way you start the game.

"If you can take that crowd and energy out of it a little bit ... grand finals can get away from you very, very quickly."

The Eagles are aiming for a fourth title and their first since beating the Swans in 2006, after losing the decider to them the previous year.

They edged the Magpies in the qualifying final in Perth three weeks ago to gain a home preliminary final last week, when they destroyed a visiting Melbourne who came into the game full of momentum.

The Eagles kicked 10 goals to none in the first half to effectively end the contest and book their ticket to Melbourne.

West Coast star Josh Kennedy is a potent force in attack. Picture: Michael Klein
West Coast star Josh Kennedy is a potent force in attack. Picture: Michael Klein

"The Eagles come over with enormous confidence after absolutely railroading Melbourne," Bolton said. "I think they've been underrated all year, but they've just found a way.

"West Coast are brimming with talent inside the forward 50m ... Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling."

Bolton, however, who will be at the MCG as part of the Channel 7 telecast, is backing the Magpies to win a 16th flag.

"I've got enormous respect for Collingwood," he said. "Their effort this year, particularly with injuries at different stages ... it probably seemed like it was going unravel again but they've just got this enormous belief.

"To knock Richmond off at the MCG (in last week's preliminary final) was just an incredible effort

"They just took the game away from them and played it on their terms."

A red-hot Taylor Adams, who has gathered 86 disposals in his three finals this season, has been the pick of the Magpies' midfielders of late.

But Bolton, who played 325 games for the Swans and had some titanic battles with Scott Pendlebury, expected the Magpies skipper to lead the way on the biggest stage.

"He's such a smooth mover," Bolton said.

"To have his sort of experience ... he's such a calming influence."

News Corp Australia

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