Houlihan eager to play finals again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Houlihan eager to play finals again

01/09/2009 07:06:19 AM Comments (0)

Carlton veteran Ryan Houlihan says the eight-year wait for a return to AFL finals football has made him hungrier than ever.

The Blues will face the Lions in a sudden-death elimination final in Brisbane on Saturday night, their first AFL final since 2001.

Houlihan and spearhead forward Brendan Fevola are the only players remaining at the club from that match, which was an 11-point loss to Richmond in the semi-finals.

Only four other current Blues players have played finals football - Chris Judd (11 matches), Nick Stevens (nine), Heath Scotland (six) and the injured Richard Hadley (six).

As the club bottomed out, finishing in the bottom two in five of the last seven years, the 27-year-old utility said he wondered if his five finals games would be his last.

"There were definitely times in `03, `04 and `05 when you'd sit back and wonder if you're ever going to play finals football again," he said.

"Last week I was thinking of the journey from the start, 10 years ago and how many players have gone through the club.

"Fev and me are the only ones who have survived.

"Waiting so long, I'm definitely a lot more hungry and obviously excited.

"Hopefully we'll go three or four weeks into the finals and take my chances."

Despite the lengthy delay for more September action, Houlihan said it had actually come quicker than he thought it would.

"With all the young players I thought that maybe this year wouldn't be our year that we'd play finals," he said.

"The turnaround's come so quick and the improvement in players on our list."

Houlihan said he would try to enforce with his young teammates to make the most of their coveted opportunity.

"I'll try and get around to the younger guys through the week and try to share my experience," he said.

"I'm sure all the younger boys know this is what you play footy for.

"It is a time when you have to step up and really enjoy it but also take your chances because you never know if it's going to come around again.

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