Yeo expects Dees to have target on his back
WEST Coast gamebreaker Elliot Yeo is bracing himself for a meeting with the AFL's most effective tagger, despite being shunned by rivals for his entire career.
Yeo admitted he had never been tagged in his 130 games, despite blossoming from a defender to ball-winning midfielder.
The suspended Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey have traditionally been the prime tagging targets at the Eagles.
But Yeo's whopping 36 disposals - 24 contested - five clearances, nine inside 50s and 621m gained against Collingwood in a dramatic qualifying final win has put him in the crosshairs of Demons hit-man, James Harmes.
Yeo told the Herald Sun he would welcome a match-up with the man known as "The Nut".
"Certain players from opposition teams have started coming to me at stoppages and playing off from there. But I haven't had a full run-with role on me before," Yeo said.
"It's something I might speak about with 'Mitch' (assistant coach Sam Mitchell) about in the coming days, about ways to get around it and obviously speak to Luke (Shuey) to spitball some ideas.
"It's something that could happen and if it does happen I'd look forward to it. He's a pretty good player and his ability to nullify some of the game's best certainly has got him some accolades."
Harmes, who was reset as a tagger at halftime of the Round 17 game against the Western Bulldogs, has subdued Joel Selwood and Tom Mitchell in consecutive finals.
AFL great Gerard Healy this week called on Simon Goodwin to set Harmes on Yeo.
"Whoever I do get the job on, if I do, I'll just be looking forward to the challenge," Harmes said.
"I played on Shuey last time we were over there (Round 22) and it was a great battle. He's a good player and if I do end up getting him I'll be excited."
Yeo has flown under the radar despite a set of numbers that have him No.1 at the Eagles for contested ball and groundball gets.
His importance is underlined by the fact West Coast is the worst side in the competition when it comes to groundball gets differential, with Melbourne ranked second.
The Eagles sit 17th for loose ball gets differential, while the Demons are second.
Melbourne is also the best contested ball team in the league.
"I remember last time I played on Shuey, he got a clearance and I'd just switched off for a second and he got them going and they kicked a goal out of it," Harmes said.
"When you're playing on these players you've got to be switched on the whole time and that's probably what's helped me take my game to the next level; just staying in the moment.
"As a young fella I always loved the contest. It fires me up a little bit, the contested part of the game. That really gets me going."
Yeo said the Eagles were refreshed, prepared and ready for Melbourne's best shot in what's become known as the noisiest stadium in the country.
"It certainly helps and it definitely helped us late in the game the other week," Yeo said of the frenzied support.
"Although I remember when Luke (Shuey) got chased down by Trav Varcoe, I was about two metres away shouting from the top of my lungs and I said, 'Mate, couldn't you hear me?'
"He goes, 'Nah mate, there's 60,000 people screaming, I couldn't hear s---'.
"It can get very loud."