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NEAFL Wrap: Embracing the finals excitment

Josie Fielding  August 23, 2017 12:21 PM

NEAFL Wrap: Round 21 NEAFL head coach, Mitch Hahn, wraps up the NEAFL Lions 4 point win over the GWS Giants.

NEAFL Coach Mitch Hahn wants his players to embrace their excitement ahead of a preliminary final berth. 

The Lions finished second on the ladder after a stirring final round victory over the GWS GIANTS last weekend.

“I’m not sure if we’ll try and calm them down, we’ll try and build them up," Hahn said.

"It’s a fantastic experience to be able to play in finals. We want our guys to enjoy the experience and get a hunger for it.” 

The team’s confidence heading into the preliminary final is sky high after delivering a gutsy performance over the GIANTS on Saturday in Sydney.

GWS led for most of the game but a final quarter four-goal comeback from the Lions secured the five-point victory.

“We just continued to hang in there all day and really fought until the end,” Hahn said.

“Fantastic performance by our group, we were really challenged. GWS had their best team for the year.”

The Lions mixed up their positioning in the last quarter, with Liam Dawson and Cedric Cox moved back and Matt Eagles to ruck.

“We moved a few guys around and each guy played their role and performed really well in the challenge that we gave them in moving them,” Hahn said.

“There were a few things that we tried to change around to give GWS a different look. We’re not sure if they paid off or if our players just continued to work really hard.”

The players will now enjoy a week off, before their preliminary final the following week.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to be able to rest up and build into our finals campaign. A lot of our players haven’t played finals before and as a Club we’re trying to build a winning culture.”

The side will meet the winner of Aspley and Sydney University’s elimination final on Saturday. 

This week's fan question asked Mitch how he will approach team selection for the preliminary final, given only 16 AFL listed players are able to be picked.  

“It’s up to our coaching staff to determine which players get that opportunity. But it’s important for the other guys to be aware that they could still come in for a grand final,” Hahn said.

“The guys who miss out, it’s going to be a tough conversation for us as coaches to be able to have with them. But I think the whole way through they’ve understood the process.”

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