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Friday, September 28, 2018

AFL grand final 2018: Lewis Jetta urges West Coast Eagles teammates to take the game on

West Coast’s only premiership player in tomorrow’s grand final will be urging first-year revelations Liam Ryan and Willie Rioli to play with flair and take the game on against Collingwood.
Lewis Jetta won a flag with Sydney in 2012 when he starred on the big stage, famously outsprinting Hawthorn ace Cyril Rioli during the first term with four bounces after receiving a handpass deep in defence.
The 29-year-old said he followed instructions to run that day and it was the same advice he would be giving grand final rookies Ryan and Rioli.
“I could name a lot of guys at Sydney who were good mentors. They all gave me the same message — grab the ball and run,” Jetta said.
“That’s the same message I’m giving these guys. As long as they do their thing and bring work rate, the exciting stuff will come naturally.
“They said ‘just grab it and run and if you do that, we should win’.
“I thought that sounded pretty simple. I did that and it worked out OK.”
Ryan’s running was a feature of last Saturday’s preliminary final win over Melbourne as he collected a career-high 18 disposals and 448m gained.
He pushed deep into defence to provide an outlet and one of his pieces of play during the third term ignited the Eagles.
Ryan ran past Jordan Lewis on the wing, handballed to himself, tapped the ball past Nathan Jones, gathered it back and passed to Daniel Venables inside 50. Venables received a free kick from the ensuing contest and kicked a goal.
Rioli has regularly praised Jetta for his leadership this year.
The Bunbury product said he had been trying to keep the young pair relaxed.
“I’m trying to be a leader and a person they can look up to,” Jetta said.
“When times are tough, they can come and have a chat to me and I’ll put a bit of laughter into the situation. Basically all I’ve been doing all year is making them smile and enjoy their footy.
“Before games if I see them nervous, I’ll walk over and say ‘smile, it’s footy so go and play like you did back home’.”
Tomorrow will be Jetta’s third grand final. He said he had learnt a lot about playing in grand finals after having a shocker when the Swans lost to Hawthorn in 2014.
Jetta didn’t touch the ball in the first half and finished with only four disposals.
“I feel a lot different. The first one was exciting and I was happy. The second one, I still don’t understand what happened. I feel I’m much more prepared and ready to go this time.”
Both teams named unchanged line-ups, as expected.