The finals buzz is well and truly alive at the GIANTS according to young midfielder Nick Shipley as they prepare to tackle Aspley in a NEAFL Elimination Final on Saturday.
As the AFL side enjoys a week off before its finals campaign begins, the NEAFL GIANTS have plenty on the line this week to keep their season alive ahead of the blockbuster clash at Voxson Oval.
Shipley says he cannot wait to take to the field in the knockout final and put it all on the line.
“It (the build-up) has been unreal so far. Everyone has gotten around us this week,” Shipley told neafl.com.au.
“It's been a few years since we have played in finals and it feels new again, so we're all excited. It's been great so far.
“I played in a couple of junior finals but never a senior one. The intensity and everything goes up a level and I'm really excited. I can't wait.”
The GIANTS haven’t played NEAFL finals since they won the flag in 2016 against Sydney, having finished last in 2017 and seventh last year.
Shipley was an academy member back in their premiership year, playing seven matches in his debut season but missing out on selection in finals.
The tables have turned, however, as the 20-year-old heads into Saturday’s final as one of his side’s most important players.
Named on the wing in the NEAFL Team of the Year at the NEAFL MVP Awards Ceremony on Sunday, Shipley said it has been a learning curve for him in 2019 as he fights for his place in the AFL line-up.
“I was shocked to make the Team of the Year. There are a lot of great midfielders in the comp so I was surprised to be named among them,” he said.
“I guess it’s been a difficult year for me in a way. I've played inside mid as well as on the wing and I'm getting used it that position.
“Hopefully I can keep working on things and use my run and develop in that position a bit more as well as playing on the inside.”
Aspley ran away 64-point winners last time the two sides met at GIANTS Stadium in Round 15. While the two sides will field different teams this time around, Shipley says it will remain a tough contest.
The GIANTS have lost four of their past five matches but Shipley is confident they are ready for the finals stage.
“Aspley beat us in contested ball last time we played and they’ve got guys like Matty Payne and a lot of other experienced players, so we'll have to try and shut them down as much as possible,” he said.
“Even though the results haven't gone our way it's been a good few weeks. We're still very young and we've been in games for patches but haven't been able to play four quarters.
“It's a good opportunity to play in a final. You never know what can happen, if someone gets injured you might get the chance to play in an AFL final, so everyone is keen to get out there and give it their best.”
Aspley hosts the GIANTS from 12pm on Saturday at Voxson Oval, with the winner to play Southport in a Preliminary Final the following week.
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