West Coast wingman Andrew Gaff is confident they can replicate their comfortable opening AFL finals win over Hawthorn in Saturday’s grand final.
Gaff will be one of 19 debutants for the Eagles against a Hawks team shooting for a premiership hat-trick but the All-Australian wingman holds no fears the Eagles can take their Domain Stadium form to the MCG.
West Coast have come from finishing ninth in 2014 to second this year before booking in a home preliminary final with a dominant 32-point qualifying final win over Hawthorn.
West Coast needed to rise to North Melbourne’s challenge in Saturday night’s preliminary final following a goalless opening quarter but eventually won by 25 points.
Gaff remained confident the Eagles could overcome their slow start and says he’s excited ahead of his first grand final appearance.
“It’s a lot of joy and also a lot of relief. We were up against it in the first quarter and it’s a sign of how far we’ve come, I reckon, because those games we haven’t started to well in over previous years we might have lost,” Gaff said.
“We didn’t go away and we knew our best footy is good enough to beat anyone and if we slowly kept plugging away eventually, we’d break them in the end and that was very pleasing.
“It was up to us midfielders to stem the tide and give our forwards the best chance. We were able to change that for the next three quarters and put ourselves in a good position.”
Since losing to West Coast in the first week of the finals, Hawthorn have put in strong showings to beat Adelaide and Fremantle to advance to a fourth successive grand final.
But Gaff is confident the Eagles can replicate their most recent performance against the Hawks.
“We know the Hawks are a quality team but we beat them a couple of weeks ago and there’s no reason we can’t do it again at the ‘G,” Gaff said.
“No doubt they will change a few things … but the main thing we take out of it is that our best footy is good enough to beat them, even without Pridda (Matt Priddis) and Masto (Chris Masten).