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Gaff hopes to create new Grand Final memories after 2000 'flogging'

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Andrew Gaff at West Coast training on Tuesday
We had probably the worst seats in the house. We couldn't see a thing and it was probably good we couldn't see a thing
Andrew Gaff on the 2000 Grand Final

AS A YOUNG Melbourne supporter, Andrew Gaff's first experience of an AFL Grand Final is one he would rather forget.

The Eagles midfielder will play in his first Grand Final against Hawthorn but he has been to a number of deciders as a spectator.

The 23-year-old grew up in Melbourne and was a die-hard Demons fan. He remembers going to the MCG as an eight-year-old to watch the 2000 Grand Final.

Grand Final preview: Hawthorn v West Coast

"I went to the one in 2000 against the Bombers when we got absolutely flogged," Gaff told AFL.com.au on Monday.

"We had probably the worst seats in the house. We couldn't see a thing and it was probably good we couldn't see a thing."

Gaff went to the 2013 Grand Final as a spectator and said it inspired him to return one day as a player.

"I went to Hawthorn v Freo a few years ago," Gaff said.

"It was weird. When you're not playing and you know the teams pretty well, you don't have much emotion going there. You're very envious of those teams that get to play there." 

Despite Hawthorn's distinct advantage in terms of Grand Final experience, Gaff said the Eagles have great confidence following their win over the Hawks in the qualifying final. 

"We know they're probably going to change a few things up that probably didn't work a couple of weeks ago," Gaff said. 

"But we've got belief. We didn't have Matt (Priddis) playing and Chris Masten as well.

"We'll throw a few different things in the mix. We know they're a proud club, Hawthorn, and they've stood up so many times in big games and their leaders always do. 

"We're going to have to start well and put them on the back foot."

Gaff said ruckman Nic Naitanui could give the Eagles a significant advantage given his recent form.

"We wouldn't be the midfield group we are without him," Gaff said.

"He provides us first use. He was great against Hawthorn a couple of weeks ago and we hope he's going to be like that again and I'm sure he will be.

"Ever since his own personal tragedy (Naitanui's mother passed away in August) he's probably been our best player. It's a credit to him.

"When it might be tough, he's really stepped up and taken his game to another level.

"We're very lucky to have him and I have no doubt that he will perform well again."