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West Coast Eagles look to channel grand final comeback after slow start against Geelong

In last year’s grand final, West Coast made a horror start before gradually gaining a foothold and finding a way to win.

They’ll have to repeat that formula tonight in their first finals return to the MCG to stay alive in this year’s flag race.

And they’ve provided plenty of hints that another famous comeback could be on.

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A reminder of 2018: The Eagles trailed by as much as 29 in the first term before pegging it back to 17 at the first change.

By half time, it was back to 12. And once the third term got rolling, West Coast were able to get their noses in front to set up the epic finish.

It’s not been dissimilar tonight. West Coast fell behind by as much as 32, including a 25-point deficit at the first change. But midway through the second term, the visitors finally found a toehold.

VideoJack Darling kicks West Coast’s first – just – in nervy style against Geelong.

Liam Ryan burst to life after a touch-less first term, with a flushed set-shot from long range helping spark the comeback.

Chris Masten shrugged off a pair of first-quarter blunders – including being pinged for holding the ball and a howling kick that missed Shannon Hurn – to snap a neat goal just before the main break.

Jack Darling pins Jake Kolodjashnij.Jack Darling pins Jake Kolodjashnij.
Camera IconJack Darling pins Jake Kolodjashnij.Picture: via AFL Photos

And Nic Naitanui started to assert his influence through the middle of the ground to give the Cats and their shaky ruck situation plenty to think about.

By the time the half-time siren sounded, the gap was back to 10. The nervy start had been all but forgotten, and momentum wore blue and gold.

Regardless of how the second half plays out, it marked a reminder of the resilience of this Eagles group amid a testing 48 hours on the road.

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