THE QUIRKS of the two-week build-up to Saturday's Grand Final granted Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin the luxury of a tranquil pub lunch by the beach on the outskirts of Perth on Thursday.
An early finish and a 30-minute drive north from the Demons' Joondalup base to Yanchep gave Goodwin the peace and quiet he was after to reflect on Melbourne's stunning season.
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The Adelaide premiership player had his game face back on for Friday's tradition coach-captain media conference but had clearly enjoyed the time out in the build-up to his first Grand Final as a coach.
"I finished at 11am yesterday morning and it was my first time to really digest things," he said on Friday.
"I took a drive to a little place called Yanchep and laid on the beach and then went up to the pub and had a parma and a pot and just reflected on the challenge and the year that's been.
"It was just nice to have some time out on my own and do some reflection.
"But we've still got some preparation to do today and then it's just about preparing for the game."
Goodwin said the unchanged Demons had handled their extended preparation for Saturday just as they did the two-week preliminary final build-up against Geelong.
A match simulation session last Saturday had been followed by a normal week of training this week.
"We've trained hard, done a lot of competitive work, we feel in good shape and our players are ready," he said.
"It's been about preparing their mindset for the challenge ahead and I think we all know what this game represents and the challenge it does represent.
"We do train hard, but that's the way we get the best out of our playing group. We feel like we're prepared as best we can."
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Demons captain Max Gawn said the two-week build-up had allowed him to reach out to several players with Grand Final experience, including former teammate and four-time Hawthorn premiership player Jordan Lewis.
The star ruckman said he was struggling to get the opening bounce on Saturday against Bulldogs big man and former teammate Stef Martin out of his head.
"Stef’s almost my most played against ruckman over the journey," he said.
"We rucked against each other for two or three years when he was at the Dees and I still call him a close mate, so I’m really excited for that first centre bounce.
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"I can’t get my mind off that first centre bounce, because he’s an interesting character, he’s a real close friend, we’ve been texting this week. He’s such a unique ruck. He plays a bit undersize but he’s so strong.
"It’s going to be a battle. Tim (English) will come in there as well at times and I’ve got Luke (Jackson), so it will be a battle within a battle."
Gawn said he was aware of the responsibility both teams had to their fans, particularly in the current circumstances in Victoria around COVID-19.
The Demons will also be playing to end a 57-year premiership drought in their first Grand Final since 2000.
"We were able to get out of Melbourne at a pretty grim time for the city, and both teams have been able to come over here in sunny Perth and be able to live our dreams," he said.
"We both have a responsibility to get out there and perform at our best and make our members and families and supporters proud that are back in the eastern states doing things tough.
"The drought is one thing, but I’m more realistic about what’s happening in Melbourne now, being in lockdown."