Every Greater Western Sydney player would have felt a range of emotions in the AFL club’s first final.
Lachie Whitfield could be excused for being more of a scatterbrain than his 15 teammates also making their finals debut against Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
Allegations Whitfield avoided drug testers in 2015 entered the public domain a fortnight ago.
But the headlines failed to impact the former No.1 draft pick on Saturday, when he tallied a team-high 27 disposals and played a pivotal role in GWS’s 36-point win over the Swans.
“It’s been an interesting two weeks, especially for him,” Giants coach Leon Cameron said.
“Sometimes you look at players and think how have they gone? How’s their preparation been?
“His training has been absolutely phenomenal. Clearly he wasn’t affected by the situation that he’s been involved in.
“To be a really good contribution in a big final against a real physical side, it speaks volumes about Lachie and he’s a confident young kid.”
Selecting Whitfield was a simple decision for Cameron.
“I asked him on Thursday – are you ready to roll? He came back really quickly ‘nah I’ll be fine’,” he said.
Cameron also heaped praise on young forward Jeremy Cameron, who booted three goals in the space of five minutes to bust the game open.
“The moment came in the third quarter and he stood up and put a little gap for us,” he said.
“Not just set shots but the intercept mark.
“His defence has come along in leaps and bounds this year. He tackles well, he’s always been courageous and he hits hard.”