Fans take Ea­gles to a new level

Fremantle Gazette - - SPORT - With Josh Kennedy

WHAT an amaz­ing at­mos­phere at Op­tus Sta­dium last Satur­day night.

We knew it was go­ing to be some­thing spe­cial with close to 60,000 mostly West Coast Ea­gles fans in the sta­dium, but it re­ally was an awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence.

The fans were a fac­tor with their huge sup­port, get­ting be­hind us when we were be­hind at three-quar­ter-time and then tak­ing it to an­other level when we hit the front in the last quar­ter.

When you’re in the mo­ment, play­ing in a big fi­nal like that against Colling­wood, you don’t think about the level of the game.

But talk­ing to peo­ple since, they reckon the in­ten­sity and pres­sure around the ball made it re­ally ab­sorb­ing.

As a pro­fes­sional player it’s dif­fi­cult to be sit­ting out in­jured when your mates are go­ing out ev­ery week and doing their best to give us a shot at play­ing fi­nals foot­ball.

It’s tough to not be­come im­pa­tient and try to get back a bit sooner.

But with the metic­u­lous pro­grams set by our med­i­cal and strength and con­di­tion­ing teams, it’s im­por­tant to stick to the guide­lines they set down.

They are the ex­perts and are out­stand­ing at what they do.

It was also high­lighted by Colling­wood bring­ing in Tyson Gold­sack, my op­po­nent on the night, who had not played all sea­son af­ter a knee in­jury in pre-sea­son, and mid­fielder Adam Treloar, who had missed a cou­ple of months with a ham­string is­sue.

They came back and per­formed re­ally well de­spite long ab­sences.

Af­ter win­ning the qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal against the Pies, we will now start pre­par­ing for our pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal at Op­tus Sta­dium on Satur­day week, against ei­ther Hawthorn or Mel­bourne.

We’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to it.

I reckon our fans might even get there in big­ger num­bers than they did for the Colling­wood game and hope­fully set an­other new at­ten­dance record. ALL-IN­CLU­SIVE hockey team Perth Pythons won gold at the 2018 Gay Games in Paris in a sud­den-death shootout.

The Pythons claimed vic­tory against the un­de­feated London Royals af­ter a 1-1 draw in reg­u­lar time and scored three from three goals in the one-on-one shootouts.

The tour­na­ment was part of the 10th Gay Games that are held ev­ery four years to pro­mote ac­cep­tance of sex­ual and gen­der diver­sity.

It was the Perth Pythons’ first ap­pear­ance at the games.

Coach and cap­tain Reid Smith said it was re­mark­able what the team had been able to achieve in such a short pe­riod of time.

“Some of our play­ers hadn’t held a hockey stick 12 months ago, now they are in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­ons,” he said.

“Up against some qual­ity and ex­pe­ri­enced op­po­si­tion, we just went into the fi­nals with a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude and a feel­ing that we had noth­ing to lose.

“I am be­yond proud of each and ev­ery one of my team­mates.”

Perth Pythons player and com­mit­tee mem­ber Leo Nel­son said it was his first sport­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

“I never felt con­fi­dent enough to par­tic­i­pate in sport­ing com­pe­ti­tions grow­ing up and when the op­por­tu­nity to com­pete with the Pythons came up, that lit­tle voice told me I couldn’t do it,” he said.

“But play­ing with the Pythons for the last two years has given me the con­fi­dence to quell that voice and com­pet­ing and win­ning in Paris with my best mates is one of the proud­est mo­ments.”

More than 800 ath­letes rep­re­sented Aus­tralia and a record 10,000 peo­ple com­peted in the games from around the world.

The Perth Pythons was estab­lished in 2016 as an all-in­clu­sive sport­ing team and is plan­ning Perth’s first Pride Sports Fes­ti­val on Novem­ber 17, which will in­volve five lo­cal LGBTI sport­ing groups to cel­e­brate Pride month.

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