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West Coast Eagles

WAFL: Injury-ravaged Eagles fall agonisingly short

Nic Reid hunts a loose ball at Steel Blue Oval

West Coast fell agonisingly short of recording a come from behind win against Swan Districts in a wet and wild affair at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday.

The Eagles looked poised to record a miraculous victory after erasing a 22-point margin in the fourth quarter, but the Swans surged late to record a 12.8 (80) to 12.4 (76) win.

Matthew Allen led the Eagles’ midfield with 24 disposals, while Nic Reid booted three goals up forward.

Mark Hutchings, returning from a four-week layoff due to a hamstring injury, collected 21 disposals and one goal.

George Hampson was the Swans’ best, finishing the contest with 23 disposals and two goals in his stats column.

With Fraser McInnes missing through injury, Andrew Fisher led the Eagles out on the field in front of a parochial Bassendean crowd.

Nic Reid got West Coast on the front foot with the first goal of the game before a straight Jarrod Brander set shot gave the Eagles an early 13-point lead.

The Swans replied with back-to-back goals of their own, before Brendan Ah Chee steadied the ship for the Eagles with a sublime snap around the body.

However, Matt Riggio trimmed the Eagles lead to two-points with a goal on the stroke of quarter time.

The second term proved tough going for the Eagles, as the Swans piled on four of the first five goals to turn a two-point deficit into a 26-point advantage.

Kurt Mutimer got one back late for the Eagles before George Hampson soccered through an opportunistic goal just seconds before the siren to give the Swans a commanding 59-33 lead at half-time.

A Nathan Vardy set shot got the Eagles going at the start of the third term and Reid followed suit with his second goal to cut the margin back to 14 points.

Hutchings cut the Swans’ lead to single digits with his first goal of the day, but another Riggio goal gifted the Swans a 16-point lead heading into the final change.

As the rain pelted down at the start the final term, the task of pulling off an improbable comeback was made more difficult when Tony Notte extended the Swans’ lead to 22-points early in the fourth.

Back-to-back goals from Fisher and Allen cut the margin to ten points, before a Chaz Flint set shot brought the margin to less than a kick.

West Coast hit the lead when Reid snapped truly from the right boundary midway through the final term, but Jesse Turner got the game back in the Swans’ favour when he slotted a set shot from 40 metres out.

The Eagles fought desperately to find a winner in the final five minutes, but the home side held on to record a four-point win.

Stand-in skipper Fisher said the club was disappointed with the result but will be determined to bounce back against Perth in round 18.

“It was an honour to captain the club, a proud moment for myself, but obviously I’m feeling very flat after the game. It feels like we let one slip; it’s extremely disappointing,” Fisher said.

“We’ve just got to stick together. Today was disappointing and it obviously hurts, but we’ve just got to come together during the week and hopefully get back on the winner’s list next week against Perth.”