It’s AFL finals time, so they come thicker and faster than ever.
It’s a time when there’s no tomorrow, so take it a week at a time.
It’s a time of a whole different ball game; time to follow the process, stick to structures – the result looks after itself.
It’s a time to stand up, but don’t jump at shadows; a time when underdogs with their tails up go hunting.
It’s a time when cliches are the rule of thumb, and rule the roost.
Take Adelaide captain Taylor Walker for example. He knows the secret to winning finals.
“Kick a winning score and nullify their ability to score,” Walker said ahead of the opening round of finals.
Walker perhaps learnt that from his coach Don Pyke, a man who has perfected the art of speaking through tight lips.
Here’s Pyke’s summation of Adelaide’s game plan: “It has stood up in games we have played this year. And we’re not about to jump at shadows.”
Pyke is merely following the golden rules of AFL coaching.
Say bugger all. State the bleeding obvious. Heap praise on the opposition. And look forward to the challenge.
North Melbourne coach Brad Scott: “It’s an elimination final so there’s a big prize at the end of it and the losers go home.” Winners go elsewhere?
West Coast coach Adam Simpson: “It’s a whole different ball game now in finals.” Rules have been changed?
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge: “There’s no tomorrow after Thursday if it doesn’t happen for us.” Bleak news indeed.
Sydney coach John Longmire: “They go in with their tails up.”
Longmire was referring to Sydney’s qualifying final rivals, Greater Western Sydney. In fairness, perhaps he’d heard Giant midfielder Josh Kelly.
“We try and view ourselves as the underdog every game. We want to go hunting,” Kelly said.
Kelly’s teammate Jeremy Cameron kept a straight face while summarising Swan backman Dane Rampe as liking to “use his left foot to kick-start their play”.
Then there’s Hawthorn. They’ve won three premierships in a row, so have mastered AFL speak.
“We’re confident that if the game is close we can get the points,” Hawk winger Isaac Smith said.
Of course, finals offer no points. But full points for trying.