When competing in any team sport only the strongest, fastest and fittest teams qualify for their leagues finals series, and every team, no matter what division, strives to be a part of it. I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Swan Hill Football Club's reserves side who is in the finals this year.
Since Swan Hill's final series in the reserves had begun 2 and a half weeks ago the intensity and importance of being around the club has increased with 31 players to pick from on a team of 22. Everyone was now turning up to every training and pushing to impress the selectors and coaches to make sure they held their spot. Finishing 4th meant that we would take part in the elimination final so it is do or die time for us now.
On game day of the elimination final, the build up of excitement and anxiety was greater than before any game of football I've seen or played in, I even found it more nerve racking than my first senior game. Once the game begun the sense of urgency became even more clear as the skill level & physicality was well above its usual standard. The Swans fought valiantly and won relatively easily and would play again next week in the semi final.
The semi final was a similar feeling but a little more relaxed than last week although when the match begun it was just as hard hitting as the previous game, the Swans however seemed settled & more focused on getting the job done than the week before. Swan Hill managed to win again meaning we will play against Woorineen this weekend and the winner of that game will advance to the Grand final where they will play the Mallee Eagles.
After playing a few games in the finals it seems like a whole different game compared to normal. Nobody gives an inch because we have worked all year to get where we are now and we don't want to throw it all away at the end of the season. As the last two games have both been on a Sunday rolling up to work the next day has been a battle but with coach Blohmy on our backs, for the first time in my reserves career we held recovery after work on a Monday night for ice and muscle rehab for those who are a bit sore.
The environment around the club is uplifting at the moment with 4 or more netball sides also in the finals which creates a buzz amongst players and supporters. Hopefully we all have another two weeks left in us and can come home with the premierships.
Carn the Swanners!!