Hawthorn hero Ben Stratton has detailed the nerve-wracking moments he mastered as he brought down Adelaide star Patrick Dangerfield in the tackle of his life during his team's five-point preliminary final win at the MCG.
With his team leading by just four points at the 23-minute mark of the final term, Stratton put his body between Dangerfield and the Crows goals to win possession back for the Hawks. The ball was quickly spirited to the other end of the ground where Cyril Rioli handballed to put Lance Franklin in the clear to snap the goal that put Hawthorn into the grand final.
Stratton, from Yallingup in the State's South-West, has tamed a horror run with injury to return to the team. But he was still shaking from the tense finish when he spoke to thewest.com.au immedately after the match.
"I was just like, 'Please don't hit him up'," Stratton said.
"It landed at his feet and I knew he was a bloody quick player so I just sort of had to corral him and put everything into trying to tackle him. Thankfully, I got a few hands on him and got him down.
"It was probably the best-timed tackle I've ever made."
Stratton said Dangerfield's epic final-term effort to almost drag his team over the line had added to the pressure.
"He got a few clearances and was bursting out of the park," he said.
"He's got a really good tank and I just knew I had to corral him. There was a bit of space between me and the goals, but thankfully I was able to stop him getting into it."