Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich confident about Dockers chances in AFL grand final against Hawthorn (ABC) - ( 4U5TR4L14 )
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich says he cannot fault the Dockers’ preparation for their maiden grand final appearance against Hawthorn.
Pavlich and his team-mates were taking part in the club’s first grand final parade through the streets of Melbourne’s CBD this afternoon where they were met by thousands of Dockers supporters who had made the trip from the west.
The parade is a traditional part of the build-up to the grand final and while it was a first for most of the Dockers squad, the visitors are confident the experience will not leave them overawed.
They enter the clash on the back of wins over the past two premiers, Geelong and Sydney, and Pavlich says they have no reason to believe they cannot continue their rich vein of form.
“We believe the last three or four weeks of the finals series, but particularly the six weeks in the back half of the season, we really played the brand of footy we are known for,” he told Grandstand.
“We believe we are well positioned.”
Pavlich is under no illusion about the task at hand against the Hawks at the MCG on Saturday.
The Hawks claimed the minor premiership with a 19-3 record during the home-and-away season and they also posted wins over the Swans and Cats to progress to the grand final.
Pavlich admits lifting the premiership trophy was a childhood dream but he knows the Dockers must be at their best against last year’s beaten grand finalists.
“I’ve been dreaming of it since I was a little kid, unfortunately dreaming about it is not going to make it happen,” he said.
“So we’re going to have to play some great footy tomorrow against a talented team, who want to make up for last year’s loss.”
Pavlich’s coach Ross Lyon is taking part in his third grand final, having led St Kilda to the season deciders in 2009 and 2010.
On both occasions the Saints fell short, including via a replay in 2010 at the hands of Collingwood, but the experience of previous grand final weeks has left Lyon well versed to instruct his team how to handle the build-up.
“I just told them to enjoy it, but don’t get exhausted by it,” he said.
Hawks confident after victory against Cats
Lyon’s counterpart Alastair Clarkson is also preparing for his third grand final as a coach.
Clarkson concedes there were nervous moments inside the Hawks coaching box when they trailed the Cats by 20 points at three-quarter time in last Friday’s preliminary final.
But he says the way the Hawks finished over the top of the Cats has given the club the self belief they can avenge last year’s grand final loss to the Swans.
“It’s always a tough contest against the Cats,” he said,
“I’m just really pleased we got through and gave ourselves another chance at a grand final victory tomorrow.”
Hawks captain Luke Hodge shares Clarkson’s confidence, highlighting that his troops produced the type of game suited to the finals when they beat the Cats.
He took note of the Dockers’ defensive squeeze in their 25-point win over the Swans in their preliminary final but feels the Hawks can match them in this department.
“Finals football is about grinding away and Freo is one of the best teams with their defensive pressure,” Hodge said.
“Mind you, we reckon we can match them with it. It’s going to be a fierce game tomorrow.”
The grand final parade concluded the official responsibilities for the two sides ahead of the grand final, with both to finish off their preparations this afternoon.