IN part two of Adam Selwood's Time at the Top, he recalls the two epic AFL grand finals he played for the West Coast Eagles against Sydney in 2005 and 2006.
LUKE WEST: Adam, picking up your career from the start of the 2005 season, this is the year when you cemented your spot in the team following five games in your first two years.
ADAM SELWOOD: "A lot of hard work had gone in during my first two years in the system and I had a taste of what my role could be in the team and how I could complement the midfield group, which was quickly becoming the best in the competition.
"I wanted to develop my craft, show my worth and it (run-with role) wasn't the sexiest job, but it was one I knew I could do well.
"Each week that year in 2005 coming up against opponents like Adam Goodes, Brent Harvey, Adam Cooney... there always seemed to be a Brownlow medallist every second or third week I'd be playing on.
"That was really exciting and I knew if I could nullify their influence that I definitely belonged at the level.
"It was a great year in 2005 and one where we got to the last game against the Swans."
The 2005 grand final against the Swans was just your 25th game for the Eagles. How big a step-up in intensity was that to what you'd experienced previously?
"I talk about this a lot... I got a hit to the head from Mark Ricciuto against Adelaide in the last round, missed the qualifying final against Sydney and then came back for the preliminary final against Adelaide, which we won to get through to the grand final.
"As a 21-year-old with only 25-odd games under my belt, there was a lot of extra distraction that comes with the grand final with things like tickets, text messages, the parade.
"I thought I was coping with it well, but the moment I ran out onto the ground and you've got more than 90,000 fans with the chance of achieving the ultimate of becoming a premiership player, it got the better of me.
"I started on Adam Goodes, I didn't settle into the game well and by the second or third quarter I had been moved off him and ended up on the bench.
"I had a howler and remember at the end of the game thinking, 'if that was my only chance to win a premiership I've blown it'.
"We went down by four points, but there was a lot of good reflection that I did after the game and I wrote a journal to ensure that if I ever got back I'd do a few things differently."
GAME NOTE - Sydney broke a 72-year premiership drought with a 8.10 (58) to 7.12 (54) victory. Selwood had seven disposals. West Coast's Chris Judd won the Norm Smith Medal.
Where were you when the Swans' Leo Barry took the match-saving mark and the siren sounded moments later?
"I wish I was somewhere near the ball to go and fly for it, but I was sitting on the bench with my tail between my legs hoping that Ashley Sampi or Mark Seaby would have been able to take a mark and win the game for us, but it wasn't to be."
Can you recall some of what you wrote in your journal following the game that held you in good stead for the following year?
"It was just about embracing the moment and trying not to pretend that it was just another game because it simply wasn't.
"When you've got 10,000 to 20,000 people at your main training session during the week you've got to realise that it is a big stage and get your mind around that.
"In terms of tickets and text messages, I got onto that really early the following year and it wasn't left up to the day before where things were still needing to be worked through.
"But I also wrote about just believing in myself. I always had a moment before a game where I'd give myself five minutes to reflect on what my role was and what I needed to do to perform well so that when I got onto the field everything was second nature to me.
"That following year in 2006 I obviously had the experience of 2005, but the opportunity to reflect on the notes I had written, which is what I needed. Who knows... it may have been the difference why we were able to get over the line."
Did you start the 2006 grand final on Adam Goodes again?
"No, in the second grand final through an injury to Mark Nicoski during the year I had to play on a half-back flank.
"The year before Amon Buchanan had a great game for Sydney and he was a player who was a real barometer for the Swans in their forward line.
"Throughout that year I had adjusted myself to being a back flanker for the team and I had Buchanan in the grand final.
"He's a busy player, but I felt as though the impact he had wasn't too much damage compared to the impact he had been having in the weeks leading into the grand final."
You did a bit of damage yourself with 26 touches.
"One of the abilities I had was I could read the game quite well, especially where I needed to be in and around contests.
"My mindset was I needed to have a defence-first mentality and beat my opponent, but when I knew I was in a position where they weren't going to get used then it was about making sure I was there to link-up and provide run and the support that our stars needed.
"I didn't try to be David Wirrapanda down there and just go all-out offence from the back line, but I was able to get my hands on the footy and use it quite well, so I walked off the field knowing we'd achieved the ultimate and I'd played my part."
How can you describe the final moments of a grand final where there's one point the difference and the pressure that comes with that?
"I must admit I'm so much better and calmer out on the field playing than what I am over the fence.
"When I watched the 2018 grand final (West Coast beat Collingwood by five points) I was carrying on like a lunatic.
"Out on the ground though I knew where I needed to be, what I needed to do. When you're out there playing the result takes care of itself dependent on what you're preparation is and the way you're willing to compete.
"I was at the stoppage for the last boundary throw-in. Knowing the Swans' system and the way they play I think Buchanan was trying to wrap around and get a kick away on his left and I was going to meet him on the other side.
"Fortunately for us the siren went when the ball was in the air and it was a lot of relief because we put in so much hard work.
"To be able to walk away from that rivalry where we both got one premiership against each other was quite fitting."
GAME NOTE - West Coast won 12.13 (85) to 12.12 (84). Selwood had 26 possessions. Team-mate Andrew Embley won the Norm Smith Medal.
What are your memories of the aftermath of the grand final win and the celebrations?
"Everyone has their own story to a premiership and knowing the hard work that not only the club put in, but families and partners is the best part of the celebration.
"For me to have my brothers (Troy, Joel and Scott) and parents (Bryce and Maree) there, and I also had Elliot Bowen, who is a good mate from Bendigo, in the rooms to share the moment was wonderful.
"It was awesome for them to be able to hold the cup and be part of the excitement.
"I thought I was the king of the family, but 12 months later Joel gets drafted by Geelong, wins a premiership and the Rising Star, so that was very short lived."
How do you look back on the West-Coast Sydney rivalry through that period?
"It was a wonderful part of my career and we all had our own little battles among the two teams.
"John Worsfold was a really one-on-one coach and so were the Swans, so over the time you usually had one or two opponents that you regularly locked horns with. You had your wins and losses and I think it was six or seven games in a row where they were all decided by under a goal.
"Every year our premiership team gets together, whether it's in Melbourne or Perth, and I remember a couple of years ago for the 2018 grand final between the Eagles and Collingwood we were at a bar in South Melbourne and we looked over and it was the 2005 Swans' premiership team in the same pub.
"More than 10 years on we still couldn't separate ourselves for a social drink. We got together, had a bit of a laugh and shared some old stories."
NOTE - West Coast and Sydney hold the league record for the most consecutive club v club thrillers with six games in a row decided by less than a kick:
Qualifying final, 2005 - West Coast won 69-65.
Grand final, 2005 - Sydney won 58-54.
Round 15, 2006 - West Coast won 67-65.
Qualifying final, 2006 - Sydney won 85-84.
Grand final, 2006 - West Coast won 85-84.
Round 1, 2007 - West Coast won 74-73.
To finish off, how do you reflect back on your 187 games with the Eagles?
"If someone had have said when I first got drafted that I'd hang up the boots 11 years later, finish in the top five of the best and fairest five times, be part of the leadership group for six or seven years, win a premiership and play some International Rules, I would have grabbed that and ran as fast as I could to accept that career.
"I stayed focused, backed my strengths in, listened to the coaches and knew there was a role that needed to be played that probably wasn't the sexiest one, but it was one I was willing to do and I just had a ball. It was 11 years that went by so quick."
TIME AT THE TOP SERIES:
TIME AT THE TOP - 20 years on from Essendon's "Bomber Blitz" with Paul Barnard
TIME AT THE TOP - Andrew Collins' tales from Tigerland and the Blues
TIME AT THE TOP - Corey Jones' journey from Wycheproof to decade at North Melbourne
TIME AT THE TOP - Nathan Thompson's North Melbourne years
TIME AT THE TOP - Nathan Thompson's Hawthorn years
TIME AT THE TOP - Rick Ladson's journey from Bendigo to AFL premiership pinnacle
TIME AT THE TOP - Rowan Warfe's 110 AFL games with Fitzroy and Sydney
TIME AT THE TOP - Damien Lock's three years with Carlton
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Bendigo Advertiser, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thankyou very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Bendigo's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.