Liam Mullen will be one of the first Bacchus Marsh senior players in the rooms before Saturday’s BFL grand final.
As much as he will be hyped up for a second consecutive grand final appearance, Mullen will maintain his usual match-day preparation.
He will begin getting ready about quarter time of the reserves – getting changed, getting a football in his hands and gradually building up to match time.
Among other things, the lengthy lead-up ensures he is well and truly zoned in for whatever jobs coach Travis Hodgson gives him.
Not unlike fellow plumber Logan Blundell, Mullen more often than not gets a defensive role on a small forward.
It will be no surprise to see him matching up at some point on goodmate Harley Inglis, who has become one of Darley’s most dangerous forwards.
This is the sort of match-up which might be decisive if the Cobras are to avenge their latest loss to Darley in the second semi-final, which earned the Devils a grand final berth..
Mullen said that the impact of that defeat could be taken two ways.
He said it meant Bacchus Marsh no longer carried the pressure of being premiership favourite, but there was the pressure of needing to pick itself up to land another flag.
He acknowledged the loss had made it harder than the Cobras had anticipated going into the finals series.
“There’s a lot of pride on the line.”
Mullen said the desire for success was as strong as it had ever been over the past few seasons.
The 23-year-old is Bacchus Marsh through-and-through and one of 16 players from last year’s premiership team going around again.
For much of the season it looked like there might be as many as 19 players playing in a second grand final.
The Cobras went into the season without Cam Richardson, Coby Millar and Damian Cupido.
The it all went wrong for Kane White (knee), Simon LaFranchi (knee), Trent Angwin (hamstring) and Jarrah Maksymow (suspension).
Newcomers are Scott Sherlock, Ryley Stuhldreier, Dean Heta, Jethro Calma-Holt, Billy Griffiths, Dylon Bishop and Blake Graham.