Player Column – Tim Kelly Qualifying Final

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 3:12 PM by Tim Kelly

IT is nice that the finals are here now and we've worked very hard to earn the right to have a home final. The boys and I now can't wait to get out there on Saturday.

Even though we might have known we were going to finish second for a while, we haven’t wanted to take our foot off the pedal at all and every game is a chance to practice good habits and to play the brand of footy we want to play. 

It can be challenging with a week like last week knowing you are playing the same team two weeks in-a-row, but we're not going to have the same team as last Saturday and neither will they. We know that this Saturday will be a whole different challenge and we are looking forward to it.

To be honest, we don’t read too much into last week's game. We are going to play with a lot of confidence I have no doubt about that, but just because we beat them last Saturday doesn’t really mean anything. The game didn’t mean a lot and we know that come this Saturday the intensity will go up another level because it's a final. I have no doubt we will be ready for it though.

We have had to keep playing well because of pressure for spots in our team too. We have a number of guys who can play many roles for us and guys who are doing everything right to knock down the door to get their opportunity, but we have guys who have been performing consistently in the league side. I'm happy that I'm not selecting the side that's for sure.

Last year was the first finals at league level for most of us and it definitely helps having that experience under our belt now. But having said that, you have to treat it like another game even though the stakes are higher and the level of intensity goes up. But if you stick to the game plan like you do every week, more often than not you will come out on top. That will be our main focus.

We did learn a lot from last year and what we took out of it mostly is how important it is to get off to a good start. You might be able to get away with giving up a five-goal lead in the home and away season, but during finals it can really hurt you and it's just too hard to come back. A big focus for us will be to start well and put on that scoreboard pressure early.

Given we did lose to Peel in the preliminary final last year, it is still in the back of a lot of the boys' heads who played that game. It is something that has motivated us every time we've played them this year and I think that will follow through on Saturday.

Personally I treat every game like it's my last and I try to have as much impact as I can, but when it comes to finals no doubt I would like to play well. That's when the best players stand up on big occasions so I will be giving it my all on Saturday.

We are feeling good about where we are positioned heading into this finals series and we are pretty hungry to have some success, but at the time we aren’t getting ahead of ourselves. We are fully aware that there are some other good teams in the finals and that starts this week against Peel and we can't afford to look past them because we know how well they can play at this time of year.