Melbourne Demons Coach Simon Goodwin says his team is primed for success in their AFL grand final battle against the Western Bulldogs.
The Demons enter Saturday night’s decider in Perth as favourites as they seek to break the club’s premiership draught, with their last premiership dating back to 1964.
Melbourne have enjoyed two weekends off in the finals series, the first after their qualifying final win and then again after their preliminary final triumph.
“We have trained hard, we have done a lot of competitive work,” Goodwin told reporters on Friday.
“We feel like our game is good shape and our players are ready.
“It has been about preparing their mindset for the challenge ahead.
“We all know what this game represents and the challenge it does represent and we feel like we’re as prepared as best we can.”
Melbourne finished the season at the top of the table, with Goodwin earning himself the honour of the AFL Coaches’ Association Coach of the Year Award.
Goodwin has selected the same team that thrashed Geelong by 83 points in their grand final qualifier.
“It’s certainly not lost on me, it’s not lost on our playing group, the privilege that we have got to play in this game and the opportunity that it presents,” he said.
“Then it comes down to, in the end, you have got to execute. And that is what a lot of our preparation has been about.”
Goodwin entered the season with queries about his tenure after the Demons missed the finals in consecutive seasons after being beaten preliminary finalists in 2018.
But he said frank pre-season meetings with his players had laid out their blueprint to return to premiership reckoning.
“It has been a long time for this group of players to work through some adversity, some resilience,” Goodwin said.
“They were really clear on what they wanted to stand for as a playing group before the season started, they were really clear on how they wanted to be seen and what they wanted to achieve.
“But we have still got a job to do.”
Melbourne’s Grand Final line-up will include star midfielder Jake Bowey, whose Grand Final debut will also be his seventh AFL game.
Bowey has been one of the great success stories to emerge from the 2021 season.
The son of St Kilda player Brett Bowey made his AFL debut in Round 20, and his proven agility in the midfield has since become an integral part of the Demons’ squad.
Bowey, who was the recipient of the Round 22 NAB Rising Star nomination, told Melbourne media that the opportunity felt ‘surreal’.
“It probably doesn’t feel real just yet, but I definitely take it in every now and then, just sit down and realise what I’ve given myself the opportunity to do.”
Pre-game entertainment for Saturday’s big decider will start at 6.15pm AEST, with Birds of Tokyo and Baker Boy among the acts confirmed to headline the show.
The first bounce will be at 7.15pm AEST, with coverage for pre-game and the main event available to watch free-to-air on 7 and 7HD.