A day to savour for McGovern
West Coast Eagles premiership star Jeremy McGovern has spoken of the moment that helped deliver grand final victory as instinct took over when the Albany-raised defender launched himself for the most important intercept mark of his blossoming career.
McGovern, who overcame serious internal bleeding to take his place in the Eagles grand final team, started the pivotal play that led to Kalgoorlie’s Dom Sheed slotting the match-winning goal inside the final two minutes of Saturday’s epic AFL decider.
With just over 21/2 minutes to play, Collingwood midfielder Adam Treloar drove his side into attack but McGovern rose spectacularly over Magpie Brody Mihocek and teammate Lewis Jetta to take a strong intercept mark.
Wasting no time McGovern hit the ground and took off, hitting Nathan Vardy on centre wing, who in turn kicked to a high-flying Liam Ryan and he grabbed a strong contested mark.
Ryan found Sheed at half-forward and the rest is history, as the young midfielder produced a superb finish on a tight angle which helped the Eagles secure a five-point victory.
McGovern said there was not much running through his head in the final couple of minutes but he knew it was his time to go.
“It was a fair bit of natural instinct,” McGovern said of his intercept in the dying stages.
“I knew I had to mark it, we’ve trained a lot around state of the game and understanding it.
“We had to go quick.
“I’ve always told myself go for it if you can, so I just marked it and got the opportunity to go quick.
“That last moment we had three contests to get it inside 50 and Sheeda’s goal was a bloody ripper.”
The premiership capped off a brilliant year for McGovern, receiving his third All-Australian jacket and signing a lucrative five-year contract to remain at the Eagles.
Family and close friends were on hand to witness the 26-year-old become the first Albany footballer to win an AFL premiership medal.
There was a couple of touching moments, firstly with his brother, Mitch, shortly after the siren, and then down in the rooms with his father and former Sydney and Fremantle player Andrew.
“This is what you play for, everyone wants to have premiership success,” he said.
“It’s so nice to do it with this great bunch of blokes that I love and the club I love.
“To share it with my friends and family I was stoked to see them so proud.
“Mitch has been under the pump, it was good for him to come and be a part of it.
“I had a couple of good moments with the old man down underneath, it was pretty emotional him holding the medal.”
McGovern finished with 14 disposals at 85 percent efficiency, reeled in nine marks including three contested and had six rebound 50s in a telling display.
His efforts yielded one vote in the Norm Smith Medal, that coming from Gavin Wanganeen, as teammate Luke Shuey won the medal for the player judged best-afield.
However, running out on the MCG on grand final day almost did not happen after McGovern spent two days in the hospital after their preliminary final win over Melbourne.
“When I was in hospital I thought I wasn’t going to play,” he said.
“Until I trained on Friday I thought it wasn’t going to happen.
“I had tests on the kidney and my internal organs, it was a cork that started bleeding internally and massage, hot and cold baths all that normally would work but it didn’t and it wasn’t a high blood flow area.
“It was pretty uncomfortable but my old trainer from Claremont, magic hands I call him, Steve Gravina got me up, he and the medical staff were great.”
McGovern said he was going to enjoy plenty of beers this week as the celebrations continued.
“I’m just going to try and enjoy it, soak it up,” he said.
“This week will be great, celebrating and reflecting on the year and what we achieved on Saturday.”
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