PLAYING in the Top End was always going to be a unique experience and the game against Melbourne is one that none of the West Coast players will ever forget.
We woke to the news on the day before the game that our former assistant coach Phil Walsh had been killed. That was difficult for us to get our heads around, particularly given the circumstances.
Once the AFL made the decision that our game would go ahead, it was a matter of preparing for the game as normal.
Phil was at our club for five years and was central in developing our game plan at the time, which revolved around the forward press. As an assistant, he had a role in shaping the career of all players he came into contact with in some way.
At the time of his death, he was senior coach at the Adelaide Crows. We play them this week at Subiaco Oval, so that will be a little different too.
It will be the first time the Crows have played since his death, given the decision to cancel their game against Geelong.
Every individual deals with situations like this in their own way, but it was good to get out and play in Darwin on Saturday.
Given it was the first time we had played for premiership points in the Top End, it was always going to be a little different. Dealing with the heat in early July was a unique but enjoyable experience.
Territorians really love their footy and there were a lot of devoted West Coast fans there. It might have been a Melbourne home game, but it felt like we had the advantage in the balance of crowd support.