MATT Spangher's fears he might suffer more Grand Final heartbreak were quickly laid to rest by a phone call from Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson on Monday.
Three times during his career the 195cm defender has watched from the sidelines as his teammates at West Coast (2006), the Sydney Swans (2012) and Hawthorn (2013) achieved the ultimate success.
After an up-and-down performance in the Hawks' nail-biting three-point preliminary final win over Port Adelaide, Spangher could have been forgiven for entertaining some creeping doubts about keeping his spot.
But Clarkson dispelled any worries the 27-year-old Hawk had early in Grand Final week.
"He gave me a call Monday and didn't officially say 'You're in', but the nature of the conversation probably was a good indication that I was playing," Spangher told
"It was nice; it was relief more than anything. It gave me the opportunity to enjoy the week for what it was."

After an injury-riddled career, few would begrudge Spangher his shot at a premiership medallion.
The Grand Final against the Swans will be just his 51st career game since he was drafted back in 2005.
Shoulder, groin, hamstring and, more recently, calf and ankle troubles have plagued the popular Hawk.
But opportunities in Hawthorn's defence and a more considered approach to his training loads has seen Spangher notch 14 games this season – the most in any year since his 2007 debut.
Hawthorn's medicos deserve much of the credit, after helping Spangher better understand when to call a halt before his body breaks down.

"I suppose there's been occasions in the past where if I was sore or felt a little niggle I was like 'oh, I'll just run it out and push through' and then disaster happens and I do something that keeps me out for most of the year," he said.
"Whereas here they always tell me 'Don't worry about it. If it's a niggle don't worry about coming off, the coaches aren't going to think less of you'.
"Where I suppose I was in a position my whole career where I was always trying to prove that I was worthy of sticking around, so I was trying to push through but unfortunately my body just wasn't willing to go through it.
"It's good the club has always been honest with me, but also I've gotten to a point where I'm comfortable enough to bring it up and talk about it."

Matt Spangher enjoying the Grand Final parade on Friday. Picture: AFL Media

Through all the trials and tribulations, his positive attitude has buoyed those around him – which hasn't been lost on his coach in two seasons at Waverley.
"Our players are well aware of the journey and the hardship that he's had to endure over a long period of time – some of it injury, some of it misfortune and missing out," Clarkson said during a pre-match press conference on Friday.
"He's been at Sydney, West Coast and Hawthorn and when those sides have won premierships he's been an enormous part of the culture.
"We're just delighted for him that he gets an opportunity to run out there on Grand Final day…and get a chance to have genuine meaning about the contribution he's made to those clubs with trying to get his hands on the cup for himself."

Despite the relief of having his Grand Final spot confirmed, Spangher is keeping his eyes locked on the bigger prize.
Speaking at the Grand Final parade on Friday, he refrained from looking back at the rocky road that's led him to the MCG on the last Saturday in September with any sense of satisfaction.
"Not yet. I still think the job's half done - we've still got to win," he said.
"Maybe after the result on the weekend, seeing which way it goes, maybe then I'll take time to reflect upon it."