Eagles staying grounded in hunt for flag

West Coast skipper Shannon Hurn says last year’s fairytale run to the grand final will count for little as the club attempts to go one step further in 2016.

The Eagles were the Cinderella story of 2015, rising from ninth the previous season to reach the grand final.

A 46-point thrashing from Hawthorn in the decider brought West Coast crashing back to earth, but the Eagles have been installed as one of the premiership favourites for this season.

There was plenty of optimism at West Coast’s season launch on Tuesday, and Hurn admits it will be a challenge to manage the growing hype surrounding the club.

And he said it’s important for the player group to realise that last year’s heroics wouldn’t guarantee the Eagles anything this season.

“We certainly do start even,” Hurn said.

“I think one of the things that you get from performances is you get some confidence.

“It’s not necessarily you still continue on your form, but you understand certain ways we play and prepare puts you in the best chance of winning.

“I think that’s what we managed to do last year, so we understand if we can do that … you’ve got the percentages and odds in your favour.”

Hurn says he feels for Mitch Brown after the defender was ruled out for at least eight weeks because of a serious finger injury.

Brown was forced to undergo surgery after rupturing a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand during last week’s pre-season win over Gold Coast.

The setback will sideline Brown until at least round six.

It’s a cruel blow for Brown, who was playing just his second match since undergoing a knee reconstruction a year ago.

The 27-year-old also missed the 2008 season after undergoing a knee reconstruction.

The news was much better for prized recruit Lewis Jetta, who tweaked his calf against the Suns.

Jetta was back jogging on Monday, and the club is optimistic the former Swan will be fit to tackle Brisbane in the season opener on March 27.

Midfielder Luke Shuey (knee) is set to return in Sunday’s pre-season match against Essendon, while Sharrod Wellingham and Mark Hutchings are also in line for some minutes after overcoming minor injuries.

New recruit Jack Redden (adductor) is more likely to play for WAFL side East Perth after missing most of the summer.

Midfielder Chris Masten is progressing well from an ankle injury, but he won’t be available until round four.

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