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Birds of prey: Eagles honing killer instincts as finals loom

The result has been a 7-1 record since the bye, the only loss being by one point to Collingwood in Round 17.

“I think we have been pretty good to make sure we’ve shown up,” Hurn said.

“Early in the year, we had a couple of games where we were poor and couldn’t change it. Since the bye, second half of the year, we have been able to at least stay in the game when momentum has gone against us and make the most of it when we have got it.”

Something else that has worked well for the Eagles in the second half of the season has been their player management.

They are now enjoying good availability of players at the right time of the year.

For the game against Adelaide on Sunday, they welcomed back Mark Hutchings and Jamie Cripps from injury.

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They hope to get Liam Duggan back from an ankle injury before finals also.

The only player that remains in doubt is ruckman Nic Naitanui, with the club not willing to put an expected date on his return; if he is to return this year.

As happened in 2018 with injuries to Naitanui and Brad Sheppard and the loss of Andrew Gaff to suspension, Hurn said the team is again benefiting from being able to build up depth throughout the season.

Their ability to get games into players throughout the squad has been important again this year.

“Just to come back, get run in (Hutchings and Cripps) legs, get some continuity and experience playing together again is really important,” Hurn said.

“I think we have managed that quiet well.

“Unfortunately for Chris Masten, he missed out today. But some players have gone back to WAFL reserves and have been doing a pretty good job.

“So if you look after yourself and stay in good form, it certainly makes it hard for selectors.”

That makes Sunday’s game against an almost fully-fit Richmond at the MCG a cracker of a game for round 22, the second last before the end of the home and away season.

“It’s going to be another good game isn’t it? They have been in some red hot form and they have got all of their players back too,” Hurn said.

“So it’s going to be a good challenge.”

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