ANDREW Gaff is a goal-setter. But aside from the obvious achievements he wants to taste on the field, including winning a flag for West Coast, the star midfielder has been chipping away at another pursuit off it.
Gaff is a keen golfer, and has set his sights on playing the top 100 courses in Australia.
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"Every couple of years they bring out the new rankings and I reckon I've played about a quarter of them so far and obviously some of them are going to be tougher to get to. I might have to make a detour and starting directing my holiday plans to these golf courses in Queensland and New South Wales," Gaff told AFL.com.au.
"Everyone has their own way to relax and enjoy their time off away from the footy field. It might take me several years to hopefully do it but it's a little project to focus on and hopefully I'll get there one day."
While Gaff hopes to tick off several more courses by the end of this season, he has another target in mind before then: playing in a premiership for the Eagles.
Gaff will be a key player for West Coast in its elimination final against Collingwood next Saturday night at Optus Stadium. The clubs' run of recent big games as opponents includes the 2018 Grand Final, which Gaff missed through suspension after his damaging strike on young Docker Andrew Brayshaw.
The 28-year old said the Eagles would enter the game with confidence against the Magpies, but understanding Nathan Buckley's men had some key inclusions since their round eight meeting earlier this year.
"I'm very lucky as a West Coast player. This is our sixth finals series in a row and I've been lucky enough to play in quite a lot of finals series throughout my career so I don’t take it for granted," Gaff said.
"Each finals series you want to play well and win, and obviously a lot of the guys played in the 2018 finals series and want that feeling again and there's other guys who want that [for the first time]. Each year there's no guarantees."
Gaff and 2020 AFL All-Australian pair Nic Naitanui and Brad Sheppard were all Eagles regulars who missed the triumph of 2018 through different reasons, but the hard-working wingman said the trio hadn't made any extra bond about reaching the pinnacle this time around.
"There's so many new guys as well who are wanting that first feeling as well. We've played about 38 players this year and plenty of debutants so there's plenty of guys in a similar boat," he said.
"You have to separate yourself from that and look at how you prepare yourself and how the team performs on that given day, because anything can happen in finals and the best team in October will win it and it doesn't matter where you are in the eight."
The Eagles will start the finals in fifth position, having missed the top four on percentage. It is a strong recovery from their early-season form when they won just one of their first four games and struggled away from Perth.
Gaff has been central to their form turnaround. The 214-gamer has averaged 24 disposals this season and was picked in the 40-player All-Australian squad.
And in a midfield that has been hit with injuries to Luke Shuey and Elliot Yeo at different stages, he has been one of the consistent figures.
Gaff, who has all but locked in a new four-year contract extension to remain an Eagle until the end of 2024, could have been playing elsewhere. The elite midfielder spent most of 2018 considering a move back to Victoria to take up a lucrative and long multimillion dollar deal with North Melbourne.
But he knocked back the Roos' overtures to remain in Western Australia, and is now readying himself for another tilt at a premiership. He says he hasn't reflected much on his big decision.
"Post career and retirement you get a bit more time to think about that stuff. I'm pretty persistent and pretty focused on things during the footy season that it's often hard to take a step back and think about these decisions and appreciate them I guess," he said.
"Once seasons finish and my career's finished that's when you really think about those things. It's been a good ride."