How good is finals footy?
Well, it’s great if your team won on the weekend. If it has been knocked out, maybe you’re already hanging out for the start of cricket season.
But as my team is still alive (just!) this season, let me share my experience that shows just how tribal supporting an AFL club can become.
I’ve been a West Coast Eagles fan since primary school and Saturday night’s last-gasp elimination final win against Port Adelaide was the second best win I’ve ever seen — second only to the 2006 grand final when we beat Sydney by just one point.
Throughout this year, there has been plenty of lows and less highs for the Eagles, but the indescribable feeling after Saturday night’s win makes supporting them all worth it.
When Luke Shuey’s set shot for goal, after the final siren, in the second period of extra time, sailed through the middle to win the game, I had equal feelings of jubilation and relief.
As my friends with whom I was watching the game on TV would be able to attest to, I was more than a little bit excited at the finish.
To win any game in those circumstances is extremely rare, let alone a final with so much riding on the result.
If you are more of a casual footy fan, or someone who doesn’t follow the game at all, the feelings may be a bit difficult to understand.
For passionate footy fans, it’s very emotional.
Sure, it’s just a game, but during the match it seems pretty important.
It’s a game I won’t forget for a very long time.
Just 24 hours earlier, I was at the MCG to see Richmond win its first final since 2001.
There were 95000 people there, of which I estimate 70000 were Tigers fans.
It was an incredible atmosphere, and while it was not my team, it was great to see the emotion of Richmond fans celebrating in the stands.
Who knows what will happen in the final three weeks of finals?
But one thing is for sure, I’m in for another three hours of stress when the Eagles play again this Saturday.
Cameron Whiteley is news editor at The News.