Inexperienced Eagles eye off flag glory

West Coast defender Sharrod Wellingham has urged his teammates to stick firm with their winning routine as the Eagles attempt to defy their inexperience by snaring the AFL flag.

Hawthorn will start as warm favourites in Saturday’s grand final at the MCG, with their experience on the big stage a major advantage.

The Hawks have reached the grand final for a fourth straight season, and they are aiming to become the first team since Brisbane in 2003 to win three consecutive flags.

In contrast, West Coast haven’t played in a grand final since 2006, and the only players on their list with premiership experience are Wellingham, Xavier Ellis and Sam Butler.

Wellingham, who won a premiership with Collingwood in 2010, said it was imperative for the group to keep things as normal as possible in the lead-up to Saturday.

That’s easier said than done, with the growing hype surrounding the club – combined with the grand final parade on Friday – set to provide plenty of distractions.

“It’s about sticking to your routine and not trying to go outside that,” Wellingham said on Sunday after the club’s low-key recovery session.

“If the boys have any questions, they’ll be straight onto asking Xavier, Buts (Butler) or myself.

“I just always tried to enjoy the week and just make the most of the situation we’re in.

“It’s not every year you get yourself into a grand final, so it’s always good to just soak up the week and then get your mind right come game day.”

West Coast booked their spot in the premiership decider with a 25-point win over North Melbourne on Saturday night at Domain Stadium.

The Eagles beat Hawthorn by 32 points in a qualifying final two weeks ago.

Wellingham said that win had given the team massive confidence.

“It will be a big factor in the boys’ minds, knowing we can take it up to them,” Wellingham said.

“But they are the benchmark. They’ve been in every grand final since 2012, so we’re definitely going to be taking it up against the best.

“We know there’s a big challenge ahead of us but we’ve got enormous confidence in ourselves.”

Meanwhile, Wellingham is hopeful midfielder Matt Priddis can win back-to-back Brownlow medals on Monday night.

Priddis averaged 30 possessions a game during the home-and-away season, but Fremantle star Nat Fyfe is the favourite to take out the award.

“That would be pretty nice to have a back-to-back Brownlow in our team,” Wellingham said.

“Fingers crossed, all the boys can do enough not to steal too many votes off him.

“I think he’s been better (this year than last). But there’s also been other blokes in the AFL who have had even better years again as well.

“It’s going to be a tight count.”

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