Deadpan Don Pyke insists he’s excited.
“I might not show it outwardly,” the guarded Adelaide Crows coach told reporters on Wednesday.
“But this is why we do what we do.
“Running laps in November and doing time trials and other things, it’s all based around getting to this point.
“This month is what creates great players. Great teams come out of this month. And that is the opportunity that presents.”
On the eve of Thursday night’s home qualifying final against Greater Western Sydney, Pyke said his Crows were better-placed to grasp that opportunity than last year when they were beaten semi-finalists.
“We go into it with a high degree of confidence because the previous 22 weeks have earnt us top spot, it has earnt us a home final, and now it’s about taking that opportunity,” he said.
“Compared to last season when we had some easier games , the last eight weeks have been really solid in what has been a super-even year … our preparation sets us up for what is coming.
“They (his players) have matured. That is what happens as players … there’s almost a point where you go ‘I want a bit more’.
“And that more is to actually have some success in finals.
“And that is the point we find ourselves at. And that is why it’s exciting.”
The second-year head coach believed Adelaide’s finals failure last year was a priceless lesson for his players.
“What it exposed them to is the level, the expectation around what finals requires,” he said.
“And it’s not fundamentally different to the home-and-away (season), it just just goes to a slightly higher intensity and the premium on scoring drops away.
“And that is why, importantly for us, in some of the games we have played later in the season we have been able to win in different ways and not necessarily rely on the scoreboard ticking over.
“You can’t hand people experience, they have actually got to earn it.”