Jonathon Ceglar of the Hawks and Nic Naitanui of the Eagles compete in the ruck.
Jonathon Ceglar of the Hawks and Nic Naitanui of the Eagles compete in the ruck.

Eagles prevail over Hawks in torrential downpour

THE return of Nic Naitanui has helped lift the West Coast Eagles over Hawthorn in a nailbiting game at the MCG on Saturday.

The game was turned into a slugfest as the heavens opened and drenched the entire ground, but it didn't stop some late-game heroics from the Eagles' Jamie Cripps.

Cripps' goal with just over a minute to play sealed the 11.11 (77) to 9.17 (71) result and handed the Eagles the four points.

The Hawks were brave, erasing a game-high 21-point deficit to lead by eight late in the last quarter, but West Coast's  Jack Darling bagged his fifth goal in an eye-catching display to set up the stunning final minutes.

In his first AFL game since rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in round 17 last year, Naitanui moved well and finished with six possessions and 41 hitouts.

Luke Shuey (39 possessions) and Andrew Gaff (34) were typically busy on the ball, with Shannon Hurn important down back.

Jaeger O'Meara starred for the Hawks with 36 touches, Jarman Impey was influential across half-back and James Frawley kept Josh Kennedy goalless.

- AAP

News Corp Australia

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