Tom Bell keeps it all pretty uncomplicated. Notwithstanding a Carlton victory, he knows what’s required of him in getting his body and his mind right for the fast approaching First Elimination Final against Richmond.
In fact, the kid from Morningside already knows how he’ll feel when the shrill sound of the final siren breaks the air at the MCG on Sunday night.
“I want to make sure I’ve done all the team things because I want to be team orientated,” Bell said prior to a weights session at Visy Park this week.
“I want to feel as if I’ve got nothing left to give.”
Bell, the second-year Carlton rookie whose slashing running goal from 55 metres gave his team the lead late in what proved a famous victory over Port Adelaide at Football Park last weekend, was suitably modest in terms of the part he played there.
“I am a long kick, so when ‘Walks’ (Andrew Walker) slipped the ball over the top I just went for home,” he said. “I think ‘Waitey’ (Jarrad Waite) was in the goalsquare and he possibly could have marked it, but he shepherded it though and the next thing you know it was a goal.”
But of the 40-point second half turnaround and the 8.2 final term, Bell was more forthcoming.
“To start quite slow, but to work our way back . . . that last quarter was just exhilarating,” Bell said.
“I’d probably say that was, as far as team performances go, the highlight of my whole football career – to come back and hang on by one point in the dying stages, it was great to be a part of it.”
But that was then, this is now, and Bell and co. have well and truly homed in on the second Sunday in September – and according to the former they do so with the right degree of caution.
“The players are really looking forward to this final,” Bell said, “but if we come out with the same attitude this week as we did as at the start of last weekend, well, there’s no room for error.”
“I’ve never played in a League final, but from what the coaching staff has said and what Mick has said, you just can’t afford those lapses because it’s going to cost you.”
At 22, Bell braces for his first AFL final after just seven senior appearances. He has played finals previously, albeit for vastly smaller stakes, having savoured success with his former team in its Grand Final victory of 2010, and experienced the hurt of an unsuccessful Premiership defence the following year.
But you can’t help but think that Bell has dotted the i’s for Sunday.
As he said: “You play football to make finals and succeed. To do that, you have to come to the game with the right mindset”.