Player Column – Tim Kelly Round 12

Friday, June 9, 2017 - 11:18 AM by Tim Kelly

IT has been a big couple of weeks and when I was asked to put together this week's column, I thought I'd take a look back to our State Game win in Melbourne and then the derby on Monday.

Obviously with the State Game this year there was a lot of anticipation about it simply of the fact that we could make history. No doubt I did want to be part of it and I was really happy when I found out I was going to play.

I've never been able to travel to play a game of footy before so it was a first-time experience for me and I enjoyed every bit of it. I roomed with Schloithe for the trip and it was nice being roomed with one of the South boys that I knew.

There were all those challenges like how much of your routine do you stick to and those sort of things, but I tried to stick to what I would normally do the day before the game and morning of the game just to tick all those little boxes so I felt as comfortable as I could.

As for the ground itself, we got to have a look at it on the Friday and I could obviously tell that it was a lot shorter but about the same width. We didn’t really have any grounds over here similar, but after seeing the oval I thought it looked quite nice and to be honest it made me excited for the game.

We all knew that we were trying to make history by winning in Melbourne and that was built up more the closer the game got, but it was something we were all aware of and looking forward to the chance to do.

With the game, I felt like we were getting on top late in the second quarter and then by midway in the third I thought we had them. They just looked a touch off compared to the intent that we brought. Our pressure and everything like that was something we focused on and was really driven by our mids, and the whole playing group really. We knew that tackling pressure, intensity and effort at the ball would be key and it worked out that way. It felt like we had another gear than them.

It was really good to play in a performance like that and I was really happy when the siren went just to know that we had made history. I thought everyone played well and I will always be proud to say that I was part of the first team to win in Melbourne.

It's always interesting becoming teammates for a week with guys you usually play against, but Leigh Kitchin is one who I really enjoyed playing alongside. We've had a few good battles the last couple of years and we always seem to have a few words at each other, but it was definitely good to play with him and I thought what he brought to the table was impressive.

My uncle lives over there so I had a couple of my older cousins there and my old man came over for the game too. It just felt like you played with those guys every week and after the game it was good getting to know them all on a personal level. I definitely enjoyed the night afterwards.

Pretty much by the time you grab your bags and say goodbye to everyone, your focus turns back to reality and by the time we got back to training here on the Monday night, the focus went onto the derby. We definitely wanted to bounce back after a couple of losses.

It was just one of those days where everything clicked for us on Monday. We did feel like we could get hold of them and we thought the idea of having a quality mid resting forward could really work for us. Hamsy kicked a couple early, Hockey had a fair few opportunities, I was able to kick five in the third and Schloithe kicked three in the last. There were a few inexperienced defenders at East Freo and we just took full advantage of that.

I'm not going to lie, when I was told I had 35 and kicked seven that it wasn’t too bad of a day. But I'm not one to focus too heavily on stats and I don’t go out there just trying to rack up the numbers. I try to have as much impact as I can but I judge my game on more than the number of touches I get. 

I do love playing mid and I love the grind that goes with that, and l love always being around the ball. But I feel like I'm capable of having an impact resting forward and that I have the ability to hit the scoreboard. Hopefully it keeps happening.

I'm feeling pretty confident with the way my footy is going at the moment, but I get that confidence from my teammates and the coaches. They back me in every week and I run as hard as I can for them when I'm out there. I get my confidence from them but also from the work I do during the week. I take pride in knowing that I tick all the boxes so that when I walk out onto the oval I've done everything I can to be ready. A lot of hard work goes into what you see on the field.

As a group, we are feeling good after Monday but we still have a long way to go. To be honest it doesn’t really mean that much because we just have another game to prepare for now and we need to back it up.

Over the last couple of years we seem to do well coming off the five-day break and we need to bring our intent and pressure against Peel on Saturday. We have to be physical and strong around the ball, but it all comes down to that intensity. We are usually in the game if we can match teams with that so our focus again is on doing the basics right.