Pavlich ready for big stage
After three seasons sitting out the finals during his prime, Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich says he can’t wait for the opportunity to stamp himself on the September stage this Saturday.
Pavlich, 28, has played in just four finals in 11 seasons, the last of them in 2006.
The decorated skipper has won five club best and fairest awards for his regular season feats, as well as six All-Australian jumpers, but his performances in this year’s final series are highly anticipated.
“Anyone would love to play at this time of year and I’m no different,” Pavlich said on Monday.
“Regardless of what age or how long you’ve been in the competition, you always want to be playing at this time of the year.
“There’s something in the air and absolutely you want to be up and about this time of year.”
Pavlich booted 32 goals in Fremantle’s first nine games to lead the Coleman Medal race, but his form has dipped at times since as he was managed through an ankle injury.
He enters Saturday’s cut-throat final on the back of a strong 25-possession, two-goal performance against Carlton and insisted he was fully fit.
However, with his contract set to expire, the skipper batted away question about re-signing with Fremantle and whether it could steel the side ahead of Saturday’s game.
“In terms of putting percentages on those things and how much difference [re-signing] makes, I don’t know,” Pavlich said.
He was more forthcoming on the potential for Fremantle’s young players to have an impact on Saturday and said he had addressed the risk of being overawed in a final.
“We’ve probably discussed that a little bit today,” he said.
“It’s early in the week, and we’ve got an eight-day break, so there’s enough time left in the week to make sure … the guys are on and ready for whatever Hawthorn dish up.
“The great thing about the age of the side is they’re so enthusiastic and they’re so ready and driven to create opportunities for themselves.
“It’s an exciting time for the football club and hopefully it starts this week against Hawthorn.”