With the finals series approaching for the Sydney Swans, Tom Papley is ready to make it count when he takes on GWS on Saturday.
Having played in the 2016 grand final in his first season, Papley had some advice to pass on to the young Swans preparing to make their finals debuts.
“Obviously we’ve got a pretty young team, and we’ve got maybe 10 players who haven’t played a final,” he said.
“So, I’m passing down some advice, I haven’t played in too many, maybe four or five. But obviously in 2016, a grand final so some experience there.
“I’m passing down to just be confident. You want to say it’s the same game, but it is a little bit different, you’ve gotta play the same way, and all the hard work you’ve put in throughout the year will pay off come the finals.”
Papley is backing some of his younger teammates to thrive in finals footy- even with limited or no experience.
“I think Justin McInerney, the energy and the excitement that he brings, he’ll feed off the pressure and energy of the finals,” he said.
“Will Hayward, obviously coming into form into finals, which is good, and Ollie Florent, he’s played one.
“Chad Warner’s in, and he’s one who will really thrive on it. He’s really hardnosed; he’s got a bit of aggro about him, and I love playing with him.”
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Ahead of the final on Saturday, Papley was awarded a spot in the All-Australian team for the first time and he spoke about how it felt to receive the honor.
“It is a huge honor; I was looking at the names and was probably a bit surprised. I suppose, I sort of took it all in last night,” he said.
“It’s also a credit to my teammates who have helped me along the way and coaches.
“I was very pleased with the announcement.”
One of Papley’s forward line teammates, Lance Franklin, was chosen for the All-Australian squad of 40, but ultimately didn’t make the team.
Nevertheless, he will line up alongside Papley on Saturday, and Papley opened up on what he provides to the club on and off the field.
“The last two years he’s had a frustrating time. Last year he could have gone home, but he stayed in the hub, and did his program and got around us boys, [we’re] such a young group,” he said.
“He’s such an important part, not just on-field but off-field as well, his leadership, his enthusiasm, around the young boys, he hangs out with us young boys because he’s such a big kid.
“There’s a reason why he’s so good, it’s because he’s so professional. Nobody really expected him to play, maybe 16-17 games.
“It’s incredible the way he goes about it. The way he plays, it’s amazing how he’s always got players hanging off him so it’s a credit to him.”
The Swans and Giants face off in the second elimination final at 3:20 pm Saturday.
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