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Wounded Eagles vow to bounce back in AFL
Justin Chadwick
16:17 AEST Mon Aug 6 2012
West Coast Eagles ruckman Dean Cox.
Eagles ruckman Dean Cox warned rival AFL clubs to write off West Coast at their own peril.

Ruckman Dean Cox has warned rival clubs to write off West Coast at their own peril, claiming the Eagles will regroup in time to make a major stand during the AFL finals.

Heavy losses to Sydney (52 points), Adelaide (49) and Fremantle (65) in recent weeks have put the Eagles a game and percentage adrift of fourth spot.

Of even more concern has been the way their usually-reliable midfield has been so clinically dismantled, with coach John Worsfold questioning the intensity of his charges after the loss to the Dockers.

In that game, West Coast won the hitouts 61-38 yet were smashed 49-35 in the clearances.

Unless the fifth-placed Eagles (12-6) can find a quick fix they are in danger of slipping to seventh or eighth by season's end and face a cut-throat away elimination final.

They host a resurgent Geelong on Friday night before taking on Port Adelaide (away), Collingwood (home) and Hawthorn (away) in a tough finish.

Cox conceded the nature and size of the recent losses were damning, but said the players were determined to get the season back on track.

"At stages throughout a year, sides have been written off. Everyone's probably doing it to us at the minute," Cox said on Monday.

"We're happy with that. We'll rectify that with performance.

"It really tests the character of this group.

"We've put ourselves in a good position where we're sitting fifth on the ladder. The destiny is in our own hands.

"(But) if we dish up performances like we did on the weekend, we're going to be out quickly in the finals.

"Some things that happened on the weekend, individually and as a side we can't stand for.

"We've shown over our year so far that when we do play near our best we are good enough to beat any side."

Geelong, who sit just percentage adrift of the Eagles, will enter Friday's night's match on a high following their thrilling two-point win over Hawthorn.

Cats spearhead Tom Hawkins was the hero in that game with six goals - including the match-winner - but Cox said the return from suspension of Darren Glass would help the Eagles quell the in-form forward.

West Coast winger Andrew Embley (shoulder) is a chance to make his return after two successful hit-outs in the WAFL, while Matt Rosa (jaw) is an outside chance.