Josh Kennedy: atmosphere at Optus Stadium for West Coast Eagles’ AFL final ‘amazing’

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

What an amazing atmosphere at Optus Stadium last Saturday night.

We knew it was going to be something special with close to 60,000 mostly West Coast Eagles fans in the stadium, but it really was an awesome experience.

The fans were a factor with their huge support, getting behind us when we were behind at three-quarter time and then taking it to another level when we hit the front in the last quarter.

When you’re in the moment, playing in a big final like that against Collingwood, you don’t think about the level of the game.

But talking to people since, they reckon the intensity and pressure around the ball made it really absorbing.

As a professional player, it’s difficult to be sitting out injured when your mates are going out every week and doing their best to give us a shot at playing finals football.

It’s tough to not become impatient and try to get back a bit sooner.

But with the meticulous programs set by our medical and strength and conditioning teams, it’s important to stick to the guidelines they set down.

They are the experts and are outstanding at what they do.

It was also highlighted by Collingwood bringing in Tyson Goldsack, my opponent on the night, who had not played all season after a knee injury in pre-season, and midfielder Adam Treloar, who had missed a couple of months with a hamstring issue.

They came back and performed really well despite long absences.

After winning the qualifying final against the Pies, we will now start preparing for our preliminary final at Optus Stadium on Saturday week, against either Hawthorn or Melbourne.

We’re really looking forward to that opportunity and will obviously keep a keen eye on their game this weekend.

I reckon our fans might even get there in bigger numbers than they did for the Collingwood game and hopefully set another new attendance record.