THE feeling in the rooms post-match after a great win against Hawthorn last Friday night was bittersweet.
Of course we were delighted with the win against Hawthorn, but it was soured a little by the injury to ruckman Nic Naitanui.
At that stage we were still clinging to a bit of hope that he hadn’t damaged his ACL, but scans on Saturday showed the worst.
We really felt for Nic.
He was just working his way back from Achilles surgery and apart from being a very important part of our team, he’s a great bloke, a real team man and very popular with the rest of the guys.
Over the next few weeks it’s the most exciting time of the year and the reason players put themselves through the tough pre-season that we do.
Every training session is geared towards playing finals and having an impact.
We have given ourselves a good chance to have a run at it in finals and to be in with a chance of winning the club’s next premiership.
Nic will now miss that opportunity and we’re all disappointed for him.
But the nature of this business is that we have to get on with it and focus on making the most of the chance we have created for ourselves.
We’ll have to do that without Nic on the field, but he’ll remain around the playing group offering every support.
Nic is obviously one of the best ruckmen in the game, but when he was sidelined and recovering from Achilles surgery we won each of our five games.
We still missed him, but found another way to get the job done and that’s what we have to do now.
In his absence Scott Lycett really stepped up and he’ll benefit from that experience.
We finish our qualifying campaign against Adelaide in Adelaide on Friday night and we’re all looking forward to that.
It has been an exciting run in the last three weeks with strong wins over Fremantle, GWS and Hawthorn, so that gives us great confidence going into the game against the Crows.
They are in second spot on the ladder and it will be a big challenge at Adelaide Oval.