Fi­nals locked in but we must lift

Cockburn Gazette - - SPORT - with Josh Kennedy

OVER the last cou­ple of weeks, foot­ball fans have had a re­minder of just how tough and tight it is in the AFL.

In matches against Carl­ton and Mel­bourne we have known in­ter­nally that we would be in for a chal­lenge, but a lot of West Coast fans prob­a­bly ex­pected us to win a lot eas­ier.

Ev­ery week we look pretty closely at the strengths and weak­nesses of our op­po­nents and were cer­tainly well aware of the ca­pac­ity of both clubs to is­sue a chal­lenge to us.

While they haven’t had a lot of suc­cess in re­cent years, both have good young teams and they are def­i­nitely on the way up in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The Mel­bourne mid­field boasts some se­ri­ously good play­ers.

Apart from Nathan Jones, who has been a great war­rior for his team, they have good young blokes like Jack Viney, Dom Tyson, An­gus Brayshaw and oth­ers.

So we knew we would need to work hard to get over the top of them and in the end we were pretty lucky that we did.

We were well down on a lot of our own key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors, just as we were on the stats sheet.

The pos­ses­sion count and the in­side 50 num­bers were both quite telling.

Our first three quar­ters were below par, but in the last quar­ter we did show a bit of grit, held them goal­less and man­aged to get over the line.

We wouldn’t like to do it that way ev­ery week but the im­por­tant thing is that we did get it done and that vir­tu­ally as­sures us of mak­ing fi­nals.

When we sat down to set our tar­gets at the start of the sea­son, that was our one of our key ob­jec­tives.

We wanted to im­prove be­cause if you’re not im­prov­ing, then you’re not keep­ing pace with ev­ery­one else in the com­pe­ti­tion, and we wanted to lock away a fi­nals spot as quickly as we could.

We have done that with five games to play, so that’s sat­is­fy­ing. Now we have to keep im­prov­ing and push as high up the lad­der as we pos­si­bly can so that we can give our­selves the best chance of suc­cess.

That starts this week against Colling­wood in another game at the MCG and we’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to that op­por­tu­nity.

It’s al­ways ex­cit­ing to play at the best and most iconic ground in the coun­try and that’s our third game there this year.

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