MITCH Hannan says his round 22 performance, when he kicked three goals in Melbourne’s win over West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium, gave him the poise to perform in the finals.
After missing round 23 with a knee injury, Hannan bounced back in the Melbourne’s first elimination final win over Geelong Cats at the MCG, kicking a crucial goal in the final term.
But the 24-year-old said it was his efforts in the west that gave him genuine belief heading into the finals.
“[That gave me] a lot of confidence. That was a game that we really wanted to win and it gave us a finals berth that everyone here wanted,” he told Melbourne Media.
“Personally, I was able to grab a lot of confidence out of that game – an away game going over to Perth in quite a hostile environment.
“It can be quite intimidating, but thankfully enough I thought I was able to play my role and it did fill me with plenty of confidence coming into the finals series.”
Hannan said gaining the call from coach Simon Goodwin to tell him that he was playing against the Cats last week was a relief.
“I was happy to find myself back in the side, after a couple of weeks of being in and out through injury and then coming back through Casey, but it was a great game to be a part of. It was a massive crowd and a great win,” he said.
“It was a bit of a weird week. I played at Casey and I was part of a good win down there, in terms of them getting into the next final. So, I got the call from ‘Goody’ on Wednesday, which was our day off, letting me know that I was in the side, which was a bit of a weight off the shoulders and a bit of excitement as well.
“I was glad that on Friday night I was able to play my role as a high half-forward. Opportunities come and go, but thankfully enough in the last quarter I was able to kick that goal.”
Although Hannan’s has been troubled by a knee injury in recent times, he said most players in the game carried niggles at this time of the year.
“It can be a little tough. It’s that time of the year where a lot of people are carrying a few niggles. Mine were a little bit worse than some, and it caused me to miss a few games here and there, and then I had to force my way back in the side through Casey,” he said.
“But as a whole, I don’t see it as too much of a downer. Having those few games off have helped me come into this finals series, because I do feel relatively fresh.
“Even though the group had the week off coming into the finals series, with that bye round, I was glad I was able to get a run around at Casey and get that match fitness back. It helped me in good stead coming into the finals game, just gone.”