Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich says his team will embrace everything that surrounds making their first grand final and promised the Dockers would not be just “making up the numbers” against Hawthorn at the MCG next Saturday.
Following a recovery session this morning, after a compelling 25-point win over Sydney last night, Pavlich joined teammates Stephen Hill, Luke McPharlin and David Mundy in a packed media conferences to start their leadup into the 2013 premiership decider.
“I guess right now it's a fair bit of relief and excitement about the week ahead,” Pavlich said.
“It's all about staying in the moment and not getting too carried away with what may be in six or seven days' time.
“Clearly, it's taken a long time for the club to get to this point so the guys will soak up the week and enjoy it. We won't shy away from some of the distractions that are inevitable with a week like this, but clearly the important part is to stay focused and not to change our physical and mental preparation which has got us to this point.
“The last two weeks have given us a bit of confidence that we can handle distractions externally. I always felt that this group of players … that it would come.
“We won't be intimidated, we won't take a backward step. They guys are really driven and hungry for this opportunity regardless of if it's you 14th year or your first year.
“That's the great trait of this group of players.”
Despite Fremantle's stunning performance against the Swans, Pavlich said the players were disappointed about taking their “foot off the pedal” in the second half. But he recognised some players may have been preserving themselves for their grand final appearance.
He also said the Dockers would this week tap into the experiences of teammates Danyle Pearce and Zac Dawson, who played in respective grand finals for Port Adelaide and St Kilda, as well as coaches Ross Lyon, Peter Sumich and Brett Kirk, who had also been involved in past premiership deciders.
Hill said he had already sent a text message to his younger brother Bradley, who will be on the opposing Hawks team on Saturday, telling him to prepare for the might of the Dockers heading his way.
He described his mother Stephanie Gray as “proud and happy” as she prepared to watch her sons, who will become the first set of brothers in a century to oppose each other in an AFL grand final.
If a moment presented like the one when Sydney's Lewis Jetta burnt off Hawthorn's Cyril Rioli in last year's grand final, Hill Sr said he would have his brother covered for speed.
Mundy, a member of Fremantle's only other preliminary final team in 2006, said he had been thrilled to last night play in front of “43,000 screaming purple fans”.
He said he was proud to have resisted urges to return home to Victoria to play football to remain with the Dockers.
McPharlin joked that his first grand final appearance did not equate to making him feel young again, but he had a clear excitement at the prospect.
“I was looking around the playing group last night and to see that we've got some old faces and some young enthusiastic ones, it's just a great complementary team,” McPharlin said.“We've gained respect from the football community, but the ultimate respect would be to go one further and that's what we'll look to do next week.”