MELBOURNE – Ben McGlynn was determined that whatever part he would play in Saturday’s AFL grand final, it would be the right one.
The Sydney small forward was the hard-luck story of their AFL premiership, ruled out of the grand final because of the hamstring injury he suffered earlier this month.
Once the former Bendigo Pioneer knew last Tuesday he would not be fit, he gave himself some time to cope with one of the lowest moments of his playing career.
Then it was back to work, supporting his team-mates.
“I went home and had my night by myself, just in terms of dealing with obviously missing out,” he said.
“I rocked up on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and I was really just positive for the boys.
“I knew I could have an influence on them – good or bad.”
Coach John Longmire and several team-mates have made a point of acknowledging McGlynn and the large role he played in the Swans’ fifth premiership.
McGlynn said the recognition had been humbling.
As the premiership players were introduced to the fans at Lakeside Oval yesterday morning, McGlynn stood off to one side.
Club legend and triple Brownlow medallist Bob Skilton walked up and gave him a massive hug.
McGlynn was still wearing the suit from Saturday night’s club dinner, tie askew, and obviously had enjoyed the celebrations immensely.
Team-mates occasionally looked over from the stage with big grins, ordering him to “get out of the suit”.
“I didn’t have time to get home and change,” McGlynn happily admitted.
“I love being suited up... a special occasion, you want to look your best.”
McGlynn is a self-described poor spectator and his partner Hannah at one point had to tell him to tone down his behaviour.
But during the frenetic last term, McGlynn had a good feeling.
He said Sydney had learnt from a couple of close losses ahead of the finals.
“I was pretty-much relaxed during the last quarter, I knew we were going to win... I was confident,” he said.
McGlynn said the disappointment of missing this grand final would definitely be a spur next season.
“It’s very hard, but I’m so happy for the boys, I love every one of them,” he said.
“This is going to drive me next year... I just want to be a part of what the boys are experiencing.”