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AFL 2021 LIVE updates: Hurn and Hunt subbed out, Eagles claw their way back against Dees

And the carnage continues with Hunt (ankle) being subbed out of the Melbourne side. He has been replaced by vandenBerg.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have trimmed the margin to eight points thanks to an early Darling goal in the second term, 3.0.18 to 4.2.26.

An early blow for West Coast with veteran defender Shannon Hurn subbed out with what looks to be a calf injury. Zac Langdon takes his place in the Eagles’ line-up.

Shannon Hurn.

Shannon Hurn.Credit:Getty Images

That last Josh Kennedy goal was critical for West Coast: had he not marked and goaled the Demons may well have been able to consolidate that advantage and take a grip on the game.

In such torrid conditions it is often a low-scoring contest, and having an early lead might prove the difference.

But the Eagles did get much more into the contest late, and the home crowd will surely help spur them on.

Melbourne have parlayed their edge at the stoppages into a comfortable 14-point lead at the first change, especially considering the wet conditions the game is being played in.

Their transitioning the ball better than West Coast and Ben Brown has made a great start with two goals.

To the Eagles’ credit after they fell 20 points behind, they did manage to stop the bleeding to an extent in the last five or so minutes.

The Demons are leading the clearances 11-10, tackles 14-13, inside 50s 14-13, scoring shots 6-2 and hitouts 11-8.

West Coast 2.0 (12)
Melbourne 4.2 (26)

West Coast: Cripps, Kennedy
Melbourne: B.Brown 2, Petracca, Neal-Bullen

West Coast: Sheed 10, Gaff 8, Hurn 8, Kelly 8, Yeo 8
Melbourne: Petracca 9, Harmes 8, Langdon 7, Oliver 7

West Coast: Witherden 3
Melbourne: Lever 4, Bowey 3

It’s been a strong start for the Demons in Perth as they have weathered the early storm and taken the initiative, their high-pressing style in the midfield and up forward is unsettling the Eagles defence as they race to a 14-point lead after 21 minutes, 3.2.20 to 1.0.6.

Coach Simon Goodwin said they want to make it a ground ball game, and that is what they are doing…

Ben Brown.

Ben Brown.Credit:Getty Images

The rain has arrived, making conditions very slippery at Optus Stadium.

Melbourne have been putting the Eagles’ backline under enormous duress in the last few minutes, but the hosts have dealt it with relatively well.

The Dees have only been able to open up a six-point lead in this period courtesy of a beautiful long-range bomb from Petracca.

After 16 minutes, it’s the Demons 2.0.12 to the Eagles 1.0.6.

Leading disposals: Gaff 7, Hurn 7, E.Langdon 7, Petracca 6, Sheed 6

It’s been a bit of an error-riddled game so far, with pressure from both teams on point.

After nine minutes, it’s 1.0.6 apiece with Ben Brown and Cripps the goalkickers.

Brown was perhaps a little fortunate given he received a fairly soft 50m penalty after taking the mark on the half-forward flank boundary line.

The resultant bonus in real estate brought him to the goal square for the easy six-pointer.

The fans get what they want with Naitanui and Gawn going head-to-head, May has the job on Kennedy, Petty is manning Darling, Hutchings looks like he is tagging Oliver and Harry Edwards has started on Ben Brown.

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