Mercury (Hobart)

Burying mental Demons

- RUSSELL GOULD

WORKING through the longest build-up in grand final history has been addressed at Melbourne.

The players and coaches have landed on a philosophy they believe will help them best navigate their long wait.

“You can lose the granny now, but you can’t win it right now,” Demons forward Alex Neal-Bullen said in Perth.

That means taking a mental break from thinking about the biggest game of their lives until it’s really necessary.

The preliminar­y final thrashing of Geelong came off a similarly long break but even though the prize this time is greater, Neal-Bullen was confident that recent history would be telling in getting to game day in the best mental shape possible.

“I have found myself laying in bed thinking about the what-ifs,” he said. “You’re going to be out there living your childhood dream.

“But I’ve done a lot of stuff with my mentality about being in the moment, and that’s a theme that we’ve had this year, staying in the moment and adapting to any circumstan­ces thrown in our way.

“From the performanc­e we put up on the weekend, I feel like it really freshened us mentally and physically, and I’m that confident in the group we’ve got that we’ll perform at a level again, if we do everything right over these next 14 days.”

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