HAWTHORN onballer Jordan Lewis believes the Hawks’ ability to close out tight matches has them well-positioned to win a second premiership in six seasons.
The Alastair Clarkson-coached side takes on Ross Lyon’s Fremantle in an AFL grand final for the ages at the MCG this afternoon.
Lewis, 27, will line up in his third decider, having featured in the upset win against Geelong in 2008 but also the shock loss to Sydney in 2012.
The former Warrnambool junior is one of three south-west footballers in the Hawks’ line-up.
Captain Luke Hodge heralds from Colac, as does mature-age recruit Jonathan Simpkin, who earned a call-up on Thursday night.
Lewis said he believed the grand final would go down to the wire and backed his teammates to hold firm in the clinches.
He highlighted thrillers the Hawks had won this season — they have a 4-2 record in matches decided by two goals or less.
The most recent was a five-point win against modern-day nemesis Geelong in the preliminary final last Friday.
“I think we’re better prepared this year than last year,” Lewis said.
“We’ve had quite a few games this year that have been close late and we’ve been able to close it out.
“We’ve got certain things in place that have allowed us to do that.
“One of the lessons from (the grand final) last year was how we gave up the lead in the last quarter.
“If we happen to be in the same situation, we don’t want to do that again.”
Lewis has played 23 of a possible 25 matches this season, averaging 21.7 disposals a match — numbers similar to previous seasons.
The left-footer is an established member of the onball unit along with Hodge, Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell.
He is one of nine players who remain from the 2008 premiership side. Just four haven’t played in a grand final.
By contrast, the only Dockers with grand final experience are Zac Dawson and Danyle Pearce.
Lewis said experience had taught him to relax during grand final week: “I don’t let too much worry me”.
He realised he was fortunate to play in three grand finals during his 192-game career.
“You see players who have played in excess of 200 games and not played in a grand final,” he said.
“(Matthew) Pavlich is one who is playing in his first grand final. You don’t look at it as much now how lucky I am.
“When the career is over and finished, let’s hope I’ve played in more than one premiership and I can look back.”
Lewis said he was appreciative of the support of family and friends in Warrnambool who had followed his career.
His parents Shane and Judy Lewis and sisters Monique Nevill and Chelsea Lewis will be supporting him at the ’G today.
“You never forget where you come from,” he said.