The reason you play football is to be involved in the big games like the AFL finals – and it was a great experience at Domain Stadium on Friday night against Hawthorn.
While the game is run by the AFL and there is equal opportunity for members of both clubs to go the game, there was a strong West Coast Eagles bias and the atmosphere was amazing.
Purely on numbers, there were probably less Eagles fans than there are for regular home games, but the noise level was amazing. Maybe that was because people found themselves in different seats, or they took their barracking to new levels – it was just a terrific environment.
We love our supporters and while we might be a little biased, the players reckon we’ve got the best fan base in the country.
After beating Hawthorn last Friday night we will get one more chance to play at home, in the preliminary final, and we’re really looking forward to that.
While the West Coast Eagles fans stepped up to the plate, as a playing group we knew we would have to take it to another level in the AFL finals against Hawthorn. They have been the best team in the competition for the last five years and have won the last two premierships.
We have enormous respect for them and what they have achieved and it is our dream to emulate what they have done. Obviously we have a long way to go because we have barely taken the first step towards that goal, but we would like to build towards a period of sustained success.
Last week we had about seven players who were playing in their first final and they all played really well. They will bank that experience and I’m sure they will benefit from it.
A preliminary final will be a step up from last week’s game, but we’re really looking forward to it.
This week will be a great chance for a few of our guys to also have a break. Because we had something riding on all of the qualifying games in the run home we didn’t have the luxury of resting players like a few other clubs.
At this stage of the year every club has a few boys who are a bit sore and by earning a week off in the AFL finals, it gives us the chance to do that. It also means that Matt Priddis and Chris Masten should definitely be ready to play in our next game.
While we won’t play a game, we’ll still go through a normal training week and will keep an eye on the other games to see who we might run into when we play that next game.
Hopefully the West Coast Eagles fans will be loud and strong in that game and can help get us over the line!