AFL Grand Final: All-Australian Melbourne defender Jake Lever says backline partner Steven May will play against the Western Bulldogs

AFL Grand Final: All-Australian Melbourne defender Jake Lever says backline partner Steven May will play against the Western Bulldogs

Meditation is keeping Melbourne’s All-Australian defender Jake Lever grounded as he prepares to right the wrongs of his first Grand Final experience against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday.

Lever gave the green light to his backline brother-in-arms Steven May who is “going really well” in his hamstring management and is set to take his place in the Demon defence.

“He’s going really well,” Lever said after training at Joondalup on Tuesday.

“He‘s hit all his markers, obviously didn’t do any of the match play on Saturday but that was the plan.

“I think it’s really important for him to be able to be confident in his body. Once he is, he’s a pretty good player.”

May and Charlie Spargo, who missed training on Monday as he overcomes a rolled ankle, both ran around in Perth on Tuesday, seemingly putting to an end any injury issues for the Demons who remain strong favourites to end a 57-year premiership drought.

The Demons will hold a main training session behind closed doors on Wednesday where the pair will get their final pre-match tests.

Lever is the only Melbourne player with previous Grand Final experience, having been a part the Adelaide outfit which was thumped by Richmond in the 2017 decider.

It was Lever’s last match as Crows player and, having missed out on Melbourne’s 2018 finals run because of a knee injury, he has become an outright star and a linchpin of the Demon’s game plan.

Lever said his greatest take away from that 2017 experience was “just how hard it is to win” a Grand Final and that being favourites, as the Crows were, means little.

“If you look at 2017, Adelaide were probably the favourites going in and you almost start to imagine what it’s like and everything like that,” he said on Tuesday.

“For me, I’ve really tried to stay in the moment this time.

“It was a little bit of a different build-up last time … we travelled to Melbourne and my family lived in Melbourne at the time. It‘s obviously super hard to stay focused.

“But this time, with the circumstances that we have right now, it’s been quite unique but it’s been pretty nice to be able to just relax and really stay focused.”

Lever, now 25 and a father of two, has changed dramatically in a lot of things he does since 2017, and one of those is his meditation.

“I love my meditation. I’ve been doing that for about three years now,” he said.

Talking to his family also helped keep him “grounded” ahead of the decider.

“I’ve got two kids and a wife back home. Speaking to them every day really grounds me and almost takes me back to just being grounded and not focusing too much on the game.”

Some of his younger teammates could use Lever’s technique for calming themselves after he said they were a “little bit edgy” as they endured a longer wait then anyone ever before for a Grand Final, before settling in to their work this week.

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