The West

Ultimatum earns Morton a medal
Mitch Morton. Pic: Getty Images

Mitch Morton isn't the least bit surprised the Sydney Swans have won the 2012 AFL flag.

It's the premiership medal hanging around his neck that he didn't expect.

"To be totally honest, I had no doubt in my mind that this was going to happen this year for the Swans," Morton said.

"I just didn't think that I'd be a part of it."

There's no false modesty about Morton's lack of expectation.

In his first year with Sydney, Morton had played only four games for the club before the grand final and it is only thanks to an ultimatum delivered by the Swans' on-field leaders that he made it on to the ground.

Halfway through the season Morton was told to lift his game, or else.

After being traded by both West Coast and Richmond, questions arose over Morton's commitment leading to senior players delivering an ultimatum.

"We always knew Mitch was a very good attacking player but we always wanted him to work on his defensive side," teammate Ryan O'Keefe said earlier this year.

"I think the penny dropped for him, he realised it doesn't matter that he was kicking eights and 10s in the reserves every week, normally if you're doing that you should be getting picked.

"We did what we do with every player, we were just honest with him."

The pep talk was at the front of Morton's mind as he celebrated with the players whose respect he has now earned.

"I was pretty upset when I found out about it," he said.

"But it changed my life at that moment.

"I made the decision then and there to give my life to this club and they've paid me back in spades."

Morton did some paying back of his own where it matters most - on the ground.

As well as kicking two vital second quarter goals, Morton displayed the qualities he'd been told were lacking, with four tackles and a piece of determination in the final quarter that led to the Kieren Jack goal that levelled the score.

"This year changed my life a lot," Morton said.

"This club and these players mean more to me than anything in my life."

The West Australian

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