AFL legend urges Bulldogs to seize moment

No stranger to September heartbreak, Western Bulldogs legend Chris Grant has urged his charges to seize their moment in the AFL grand final against Melbourne.

© Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS Chris Grant has urged the Western Bulldogs to make the most of their AFL grand final opportunities.

Grant, a favourite son of the west, will present the Bulldogs with the premiership cup should they prevail in Saturday’s decider in Perth.

Having been on the Dogs’ staff in 2016 when they broke their premiership drought, the 48-year-old now serves as their head of football.

As he wryly admits, presenting the cup is about as close as he’ll get to the silverware given his decorated 341-game career didn’t include a grand final.

Grant played in the 1997 Bulldogs side which fell to eventual premiers Adelaide by two points in a preliminary final. Days later, he polled maximum votes in the Brownlow Medal count but was ineligible because of a contentious suspension.

With Melbourne the sentimental favourites as they look to win their first flag in 57 years, Grant says a second premiership in five years would still mean the world for the success-starved Bulldogs faithful.

“It’s such an amazing and surreal experience to have the colours of your club involved in grand final day. It’s a very, very different feeling to any other final for a lot of different reasons,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter when your team’s in it, it’s a privilege. This is only the fourth time in our whole history that we’ve been involved in a VFL or an AFL grand final.

“They don’t come around very often so you make the most of your opportunities when you’re there.”

Both teams will train behind closed doors at Optus Stadium on Wednesday as they ramp up their preparations for the historic Perth showdown.

Grant said Alex Keath (hamstring) and Cody Weightman (concussion) were both tracking well, with tough selection calls likely to be communicated to the players on Wednesday night.

Should Melbourne win, they’ll be presented with the premiership cup by former captain Garry Lyon, who Grant described as a childhood hero.

Lyon will be on media duties with Fox Footy earlier on grand final day but by the time the ball is bounced, he’ll be watching purely as a Demons diehard.

“I’ll be a rusted-on nuffie Melbourne supporter for the game, no doubt about it,” he said.

“You just take yourself back to 2016 and you see what it did for the Western Bulldogs … I want that feeling and all Melbourne supporters are the same.

“All supporters of teams who have been through what we’ve been through, it gets to a stage where you go ‘is it ever going to get better?’

“But you get some people who are ready to take on the challenge, Peter Jackson and Paul Roos and Simon Goodwin, and start making good drafting decisions … and there’s hope. You’ve just got to make good decisions.”

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