OVER the last couple of weeks, football fans have had a reminder of just how tough and tight it is in the AFL.
In matches against Carlton and Melbourne, we have known internally that we would be in for a challenge, but a lot of West Coast fans probably expected us to win a lot more easily.
Every week we look pretty closely at the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents and were certainly well aware of the capacity of both clubs to issue a challenge to us.
While they haven’t had a lot of success in recent years, both have good young teams and they are definitely on the way up in the competition.
The Melbourne midfield boasts some seriously good players.
Nathan Jones has been a great warrior for his team and they have good young blokes like Jack Viney, Dom Tyson, Angus Brayshaw and others.
So we knew we would need to work hard to get over the top of them and in the end we were pretty lucky that we did.
We were well down on a lot of our own key performance indicators, just as we were on the stats sheet.
The possession count and the inside 50 numbers were both quite telling.
Our first three quarters were below par, but in the last quarter we did show a bit of grit, held them goalless and managed to get over the line.
We wouldn’t like to do it that way every week but the important thing is that we did get it done and that virtually assures us of making finals.
When we sat down to set our targets at the start of the season, that was our one of our key objectives.
We wanted to improve because if you’re not improving, then you’re not keeping pace with everyone else in the competition, and we wanted to lock away a finals spot as quickly as we could.
We have done that with five games to play, so that’s satisfying.
Now we have to keep improving and push as high up the ladder as we possibly can so that we can give ourselves the best chance of success.
That starts this week against Collingwood in another game at the MCG and we’re really looking forward to that opportunity.
It’s always exciting to play at the best and most iconic ground in the country and that’s our third game there this year.