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Decorated veterans in hot water after Eagles whack flat Cats

Football

Sam Mitchell and Joel Selwood engaged in a bitter tit-for-tat as West Coast posted a morale-boosting 13-point win over Geelong at Domain Stadium.

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Both Mitchell and Selwood are set to come under scrutiny from the AFL’s match review panel for a first-half incident in which they struck each other.

Mitchell collected Selwood in the back of the head with an elbow, before the Geelong skipper retaliated with a high hit of his own.

It was initially believed Mitchell was reported for the incident but later confirmed only Selwood was cited.

The pair, whose rivalry dates back to the 2008 Grand Final in which Mitchell captained the Hawks to a shock win over Geelong, were also involved in several other heated exchanges throughout West Coast’s 11.17 (83) to 10.10 (70) win.

“I saw it really fleetingly. So not good enough to have an opinion on it. Joel was OK, and they moved on,” Geelong coach Chris Scott said.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson said he didn’t see the incident, and was also confused about who was reported.

“I’ve got no idea what’s going on, so I can’t answer that,” Simpson said.

Joel Selwood and Sam Mitchell get a stern word from the umpire. Photo: Tony McDonough / AAP

The Eagles booted seven goals to two in a dominant opening half to open up a 36-point lead.

But the Cats closed the margin to just 12 points at the 20-minute mark of the final quarter, before Andrew Gaff and Lewis Jetta kicked late goals to help end West Coast’s three-match losing run.

The Cats’ fightback was brave, given they were down to just two fit men on the bench in the final quarter.

Forward Nakia Cockatoo lasted just a few minutes before his game ended with a hamstring injury. Scott Selwood had a similar complaint in the third quarter.

Mitchell finished with 29 disposals in a masterful display.

Former Swan Jetta also played a crucial role in the win, with his pinpoint kicking setting up numerous goals.

Luke Shuey was at his best with 32 disposals and eight clearances.

Patrick Dangerfield led the way for Geelong with 34 disposals, while Rhys Stanley booted three goals.

The win lifts West Coast (7-5) back into the top eight, while Geelong (8-4) remain third.

Eagles forward Jack Darling entered the match under the spotlight after a series of underwhelming displays.

But the 25-year-old responded with a strong opening term that featured several strong marks and a goal.

Drew Petrie, playing as a permanent forward in the absence of Josh Kennedy, also booted a goal to give West Coast a 19-point lead at quarter-time.

The pressure was intense during the opening half.

Jeremy McGovern, playing up forward and in the ruck, shone in the second term as West Coast powered to a 36-point lead at the long break.

The tide turned early in the third quarter as Geelong started to win the contested possession battle but the Cats left their run too late.

It’s the seventh straight loss for the Cats after a mid-season bye week, a record Scott said needed to be addressed – but also warning it needed to be put into context.

“We have had a good look at it,” Scott said.

“But it is actually not true [because] there was a bye last year before the finals and we won the next week.

“Sometimes these things can grow legs even when they are false.

“And I think you have to be very careful in looking back seven years.

“My great coach said to me four weeks in footy is ancient history.

“Our team is very, very different, but we would be crazy not to look back at every single thing in review and if there is a pattern there, which there clearly is.

“Even though it is over a huge period of time, with completely different personnel, we should look to address it.”

-AAP

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