The qualifying rounds of the AFL season have been very satisfying for West Coast Eagles players and fans, but now it�s about making the most of the opportunity we have created.
It was great to finish the year in second place, which guarantees us two home finals, but for us that is just the starting point for the next, exciting phase of the season. We�re really looking forward to the next few weeks.
By winning 16 games and drawing one, we have created a great platform to launch the West Coast Eagles into September and now we want to capitalise, starting with the game against Hawthorn at Domain Stadium on Friday night.
Both teams will be coming off a six-day break, but it will be exciting to kick off the finals series and to be honest, the quick turnaround will be great for us. With such a young team, we will do the usual recovery and preparation and before we know it we will be back out there again.
After a couple of years where our season has come to an end at this stage of the year, it�s great to be playing in September and we�ll just suck up the atmosphere, enjoy what�s ahead of us and do everything we can to create something special together.
When you start pre-season and put in the hard slog over summer, this is why you do it. So you should cherish the opportunity and do everything you can to capitalise. That will certainly be our mind set over the next few weeks.
But again, this really is the stage where you take it match by match. I know the average fan gets a bit tired of the �one week at a time� clich�, but that�s exactly how we have to look at it. You can�t get caught up in the various scenarios.
That�s why for the West Coast Eagles, going into our last game against St Kilda, we kept it pretty simple. As long as we beat the Saints we would lock down second spot, but we had to focus on playing our game and the rest would take care of itself.
After a bit of an up and down first half, we played some really good team footy in the second half and with an even contribution from all players we finished the home and away season with plenty of momentum.
Now that we�re into a finals series, we know the intensity will lift, especially first up against the Hawks, who have been the competition benchmark for the last four or five years. We have the benefit of having played them a few weeks ago, but we know this game will lift a notch or two.
We believe we�re ready for it and can�t wait to get out there.