Wood prepares for second AFL Grand Final

EASTON Wood is hoping to add a second premiership medal to the first one he won five years ago tonight.

The Western Bulldogs defender will represent Camperdown and the Hampden league when his club takes on Melbourne in the AFL Grand Final at Perth’s Optus Stadium.

Wood skippered the Bulldogs to their first flag in 62 years in 2016 and while this time he isn’t captain, he’s just as eager to become a premiership player for the second time.

However, a shot at another flag almost did not eventuate for the 187-gamer.

Injury, which has often been associated with his career, reared its head in the pre-season, with Wood first appearing at AFL level in round three.

He went on to play six consecutive games before sustaining a hamstring injury in his side’s win over Port Adelaide, which kept him out of action for six weeks.

He returned briefly through the VFL but sustained another injury, this time an ankle, which at first thought was set to end his season.

Luckily, scans revealed some good news, with Wood eventually building his fitness and working his way back into the line-up in round 20, playing every game since.

“I tore three hamstrings this year and then coming back through the VFL I ruptured the lateral ligaments in an ankle,” Wood said.

“At that point, before I got the scan on the ankle, ‘I thought if this is a break I’m out for three months and it’s season over’ and I was going through all these waves of ups and downs.

“But thankfully, as I have always done, I went back with the physios and the fitness staff and put the work in and they’re hanging in there.

“I can’t believe we’re playing in another grand final, it’s surreal and really special.”

Wood will spearhead his side’s defensive line and is expected to nullify the influence of Bayley Fritsch and Kysiah Pickett in the decider.

Fritsch (53 goals) and Pickett (40) have been busy inside forward 50 this season but Wood is confident he can limit their influence or any other Demon who crosses his path.

“The way we normally play, I play on a range of different players so it could be them,” he said.

“It could be (Charlie) Spargo, it could be any of the resting forwards, if (Christian) Petracca comes forward or whoever, or it could be someone taller like (Ben) Brown or someone at different times if they’re playing a bit higher.

“Who knows. When we play our system we normally don’t just follow one player so I’ll probably have a handful (of opponents).”

Saturday’s grand final starts at 7.15pm (AEST).