Dirty day taught Eagles lessons
WEST Coast skipper Shannon Hurn says the AFL premiers learned some valuable lessons from their heavy loss to Geelong earlier this year and he’s optimistic they can turn the tables on Friday night.
The Eagles copped their biggest loss of 2019 when they travelled to GMHBA Stadium in round six, with the Cats running riot to post a 58-point triumph.
Geelong notched 61 inside 50s to 39 in a dominant display and they won the contested possession battle by 33.
West Coast rebounded from that loss to win 12 of their next 14 matches and they will start as slight favourites over Geelong in their semi-final showdown at the MCG.
Ruckman Nic Naitanui, Willie Rioli, Tom Barrass and Jack Redden all missed that round-six thrashing but all will be available for this week’s meeting.
Hurn feels his team is far better placed to take on the Cats this time around.
“We couldn’t win the ball around the stoppage and we couldn’t get it going our way, and in the backline we just couldn’t get it out,” Hurn told 6PR.
“We’ve learnt from that. It feels like it was a long time ago.
“We’ve changed, Geelong have changed.
“We’ll be making sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
Geelong have won just three of their 13 finals since winning the flag in 2011, and the pressure is on coach Chris Scott to make sure they avoid a straight-sets exit.
If the Cats are booted out they would be the first minor premiers since North Melbourne in 1983 to bow out of the finals with successive defeats.
West Coast copped a barrage of criticism themselves after their final-round loss to Hawthorn, which cost them a prized top-four berth.
The Eagles bounced back from that loss to destroy Essendon by 55 points in last week’s elimination final and Hurn is expecting the Cats to be similarly fired up on Friday night.
“We were in a similar position after the Hawthorn game,” Hurn said.
“Sometimes it just happens in football. You never want it to be an excuse but sometimes you’re just off.
“For the good teams the difference between their best and worst is quite small.
“What we’ll be planning for is Geelong at their best.
“They finished top, they only lost a few games for the year, and they’ve got a lot of great players.”
© AAP 2019