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Petrie proud of resilient Eagles

Jennifer Phelan, AFL.com.au  September 10, 2017 9:00 AM

AFL 2017 First Elimination Final - Port Adelaide v West Coast

Drew Petrie toiled manfully against All Australian ruckman Paddy Ryder all night

For Drew Petrie, Saturday night's win at Adelaide Oval allowed for the important exorcising of ghosts that threatened to haunt his days as a past player.  

Exactly a year ago Petrie had finished his last game for North Melbourne – along with Brent Harvey, Nick Dal Santo and Michael Firrito – with the Kangaroos' finals hopes shattered at the hands of Adelaide.

He wasn't sure what would happen next after being told he wasn't getting a new contract at Arden Street, and he was devastated to think his career would end on a 62-point interstate finals loss.

Fast-forward a year – to the day – and Petrie is leaving the same venue a finals winner, with his new club West Coast through to the semi-finals after a heart-stopping extra time win over Port Adelaide.

"Last year, I didn't have too many good memories over here," Petrie told AFL.com.au afterwards.

"We got flogged, which was a really disappointing way to finish for North, so I had memories of that.

"I felt like preparing this time around, knowing I was going to finish if we lost, I'd accepted it a lot better.

"I think last year I had a lot of emotion and I tried to hide that, but it got to me in the last couple of games.

"This year, I've just enjoyed it. There's still a lot of hard work ahead and the belief in the group was really good going into the game, which is what we saw with the start we had."

That kind of belief is infectious, with the Eagles now riding into week two of the finals having stolen eighth position from Melbourne with a round 23 win over Adelaide, plus their thrilling victory over the Power that came with an after-the-siren goal from Luke Shuey.

Petrie acknowledged there were challenges ahead – back-to-back trips across the Nullarbor, combined with over 10 minutes of extra time on Saturday night just some of the physical hurdles the Eagles must confront.

But, he says they've given themselves every mental reason to believe they can beat anyone with their last two results.

"That's going to work well for our belief in any situation," he said.

"We won after the siren tonight so it's just about hanging in there.

"We could have rolled over tonight, but we showed some really good resilience and never gave up.

"The emotion and the high we're all on at the moment will wash away in the next 24 hours and we'll get back to business."

West Coast coach Adam Simpson joked after Petrie's strong game against All Australian ruckman Paddy Ryder he would "chat" to him about his decision to retire at the season's end.

But the 331-game veteran said there was no chance he would renege on his plans.

"The call will stand," he said.

"My start was OK, I faded through the middle part of the game, I didn't really have any effect on it and towards the end I didn't really do much either.

"Reality suggests my call was the right one, and it's not as if there was a lengthy contract being thrown my way anyway.

"It was a case of me getting in and retiring before they told me I was sacked. I'm happy to finish at the end of the season."