Zen Wood to lead Dogs into GF
Photo Source: AAP
Vaulted into the Western Bulldogs' captaincy, softly spoken defender Easton Wood will be a picture of calm as the side prepare for Saturday's AFL grand final.
That's the aim, at least, for one of the few Bulldogs who have previously experienced going deep into a finals campaign.
"I think my role, and for any players who've been there before, the whole thing is as much as you can, (keep it) business as usual and show that you're still enjoying things," Wood told AAP.
"Just be as genuine and normal as you can be, and be that steadying and calming influence."
After debuting in 2009, Wood had his first taste of finals footy the following year at age 21 after midfielder Shaun Higgins was ruled out with a thyroid problem.
The Bulldogs won their semi-final against Sydney but went down to St Kilda the following week and didn't make it back to the finals for another five years.
"My first two finals, I was so young," Wood said.
"I've actually got a very poor memory of both the games I played then. It really seems like a blur.
"I think one of the first things I noticed back then as a young player was how difficult it was to hear on the ground. Obviously, that's something I'm pretty used to now ... there'll be 100,000 screaming fans and it'll just be one of those things you embrace."
After an injury-plagued start to his career, 27-year-old Wood has found continuity in recent years and stepped up his role as a backline general in the absence of injured captain Bob Murphy.
Wood was sensational in the Bulldogs' preliminary final win over Greater Wester Sydney, gathering intercept marks and lighting up Spotless Stadium with a massive hanger over the Giants' Rhys Palmer.
But he reckons it was no different to the pressure acts performed by each of his teammates at different times in the season.
"You take your moments and execute what you're here to do," Wood said.
"Our strength has been what our 22 players have been able to contribute each week. Every single player has been able to have a moment - multiple moments - and stand up and play crucial parts as to why we are where we are."