Sport AFL Hurn confident Eagles can handle the heat

Hurn confident Eagles can handle the heat

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West Coast captain Shannon Hurn is adamant his team will be able to handle Hawthorn’s physicality in Saturday’s grand final at the MCG.

The Hawks have become renowned for their unsociable football, but Hurn is confident his young team will be able to stand up in the heat of the battle.

“The first couple of minutes it will be pretty hot, and then it will just settle into a normal game,” Hurn said on Monday.

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“In the couple of (finals) games we’ve played in, they’ve been some hard contests. North Melbourne game was pretty hot.

“And against Hawthorn, around the contest is always flat out.

“We’ll be able to adapt to whatever comes.

“We understand at the start of the grand final, it’s going to be a little bit hot.”

West Coast beat Hawthorn by 32 points in a qualifying final two weeks ago.

But the Hawks will enter the grand final as favourites as they attempt to snare their third straight premiership.

Hurn said he and his teammates don’t read anything into the favourites-underdog status.

“Once you get to this time of the year, you can make a case for anyone,” Hurn said.

“Of course Hawthorn have had four grand finals in a row. This is our first time at it. But our form has been really good.”

The Eagles are likely to enter the match with an unchanged side from the team that beat North Melbourne by 25 points on Saturday night.

Hurn says he feels for vice-captain Scott Selwood, who is likely to be named as an emergency after struggling to overcome his long-standing ankle issue all year.

Meanwhile, Hawthorn forward Jack Gunston is set to reclaim his spot in the Hawks’ AFL grand final side after completing a searching fitness test at training on Monday.

Gunston has been missing since injuring his right ankle in the qualifying final loss to West Coast but took part in a light 20-minute session with his teammates at the club’s Waverley headquarters before being put through his paces at greater intensity by fitness coach Andrew Russell for a further 25 minutes.

The 23-year-old stretched out to three-quarter pace in straight run-throughs, but more importantly, displayed an ability to push off sideways by gathering loose balls on the run and snapping for goal, then finishing with one-on-one competitive body work with Russell.

He will, of course, need to recover well from the session but with the grand final five days away he is in the box seat to make his return.

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