What a dif­fer­ence three years makes

Midwest Times - - SPORT - Steve But­ler

The most telling im­age of West Coast’s pre­vi­ous grand fi­nal ap­pear­ance was for­ward Mark LeCras’ daugh­ter Molly us­ing her fin­gers to make him smile af­ter a loss to Hawthorn in 2015.

But on Satur­day the pair were beam­ing as joy­ous scenes played out be­tween the Ea­gles’ fam­i­lies and friends.

“I think I put a smile on her face to­day,” the for­mer Cer­vantes foot­baller said, with Molly smil­ing widely in his arms. “I think back to that mo­ment and how hard it was and how much your kids help cush­ion the blow when you lose a grand fi­nal, or even a game.

“Fam­ily is so spe­cial and the coach re­ally em­braces fam­ily as well.

“There are a lot of guys who have kids around here and as much as they help me, I’m look­ing for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing with them.”

LeCras, at 32 the oldest Ea­gles player, de­scribed him­self as the “old balls” of the team, but he was not yet ready to call time on his 219- game ca­reer. He urged his younger team­mates not to take their premier­ship mo­ment for granted af­ter win­ning a flag for the first time in his 13-sea­son ca­reer.

“I said to a few of the young guys, ‘I’m jeal­ous of ya’,” he said.

“You get to play the rest of your ca­reer with­out the worry of not win­ning one.

“Within the four walls, Simmo (coach Adam Simp­son) has al­ways backed me in and I can’t thank him enough. Now I just want to en­joy it be­cause now I’m bonded for life with these boys.”

Pic­ture: Ian Munro

Molly Le Cras tries to get Dad to smile af­ter West Coast’s 2015 AFL grand fi­nal loss.

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

Mark LeCras is all smiles with Molly on his shoul­ders on Satur­day.

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