THE LION with the most big-game experience has some simple advice for his young teammates ahead of the club's biggest game in 16 years on Saturday night – back yourself.
Grant Birchall played in six preliminary finals for Hawthorn and will make it number seven when Brisbane hosts Geelong at the Gabba.
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Only four Lions – Birchall, Lachie Neale, Charlie Cameron and Lincoln McCarthy – have made it to the second last weekend of the season.
Birchall went on to win four premierships with the Hawks and said in many ways the preliminary final was more difficult to win.
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"Going on my experiences, I've played in six prelims and four of them have been decided by under a kick," he said.
"They've been pretty hard to win, always been close games, great clashes, both teams throwing everything at each other."
The veteran half-back said a number of young teammates had already asked him for advice on how to handle the occasion.
He said they should have gained a lot of confidence from defeating Richmond in the qualifying final.
"Just to back themselves in I think," Birchall said.
"I just try and add some experience and a bit of composure, particularly down the back end.
"I just encourage them to go out there and have a crack and go for it."
Birchall has been a major success for Brisbane this year, playing 15 of a possible 18 games after managing just eight in the previous three years with the Hawks.
He said he was still daring to dream about adding a fifth flag.
"I'm just trying to stay in the moment and focus on my preparation," Birchall said.
"I do dream about it, don't get me wrong, it'd be an unbelievable achievement.
"I think it'd just be a bit of reward for what I've been through the last couple of years.
"There's a fair bit of water to go under the bridge though."