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Q&A — Scott Lycett

It’s been a big few months for Scott Lycett. The 26-year-old proved to be one of the Eagles’ Grand Final heroes, before making the difficult decision to return home to Port Adelaide. Straight after coming back from a few weeks away in Europe, the newest member of the Power went one-on-one with

When did you take the boots off after your celebrations?

Well, there is an interesting story behind that. We all put our white suit shirts underneath our jumpers, and we put our suit shoes on as well. So I put my sneakers in my suit bag and I didn’t know that they were taking our suit bags straight back to Perth, so by the time the night was over and we got up in the morning, I was obviously pretty dusty and the only sneakers that I brought with me to Melbourne were already back in Perth. I had a decision to make when I got up; it was either my suit shoes or my boots. And I was like, ‘oh well, I’m just going to wear my boots!’ A few people have asked me about that and I have let them know that I had to choose between the two. I didn’t think it would become as big of a story as it eventually did.

How much sleep did you get?

Maybe half an hour… I was pretty lucky to get on the bus the next morning. The coaches were waiting for about 20 minutes for me and they had to come and pack my bag and grab me.

Oh really, so you were that bad?

Yeah, I wasn’t in a good way. Let’s just put it that way.

Then what happened when you got back to Perth? Once the formalities ended, I assume you had a few more nights like the Saturday night?

Yeah, the whole week post the game was just amazing. It was just something I will never forget, and even though I’m at Port now, those guys will be my brothers for life because we won a flag together. Those celebrations were something that I will cherish forever.

Who was best performed in the post-Grand Final celebrations?

It’s hard to say… Jack Redden was pretty good, Tommy Cole was also good for a young fella, and with age on his side he could certainly back it up. I struggle nowadays to back it up but I found a way after we won the flag. It gets harder and harder the older you get, but the advice mum and dad gave me was to make the most of it, and that was what I did.

It must have been a tricky period for you, celebrating the win but also having a move back to Adelaide in the back of your mind?

It was definitely tough! Anyone would find it hard to leave after winning a premiership. I was in two minds after we won and didn’t have much time to think about what I wanted to do, because I wanted to play out the season and then make a decision. It was a really tough one, but I’ve been in Perth for eight years now so it’s not like I ditched the club after two or three years. I have put a few good years at West Coast and made the decision to come home.

Apart from the obvious factors of getting home and some long-term security, what was the decision based on?

I used to play for Port so I knew a few of the guys already, and like you said, the security was a big factor. This day and age in footy, deals like that don’t come around very often, but that isn’t to say that the West Coast deal wasn’t great either, but just to be around my family again was big. My dad has been crook in the past and I know for a fact from good family friends that life can go by in an instant. My parents are getting a bit older now, and I’m getting on with my life so I want to be part of their lives now.

Is your dad OK now?

He’s OK now, but a couple of years ago he had a benign tumor in his head that got taken out in what was a 10-hour surgery to get it off his brain. It was very serious and a little touch-and-go for a period there. He is fine now, and I am looking forward to getting back. I actually moved out of home when I was 16 because I grew up eight hours out of Adelaide, so I moved then for a couple of years and then was in Perth for eight years so I have been away from home for 10. I’m proud that I spent the time in WA and am eternally grateful to West Coast, and whether they like it or not, as a premiership player I will always be part of their family.

There were no ill feelings when you told West Coast you were leaving?

From the conversations that I had with people at West Coast, they said there were no hard feelings and that they understood. As far as I know, it was all left on good terms.

It was a difficult period also for one of your close mates in Andrew Gaff. Did you lean on each other during the decision-making process?

We were talking all year about different things that were happening, and he gave me some really good advice and I gave him some as well. At the end of the day, he was devastated not to be part of the Grand Final, but now it is making him hungrier to have a crack at it to get himself a flag. He deserved to be out there, but it was unfortunate for him.

Were you surprised that he stayed?

It’s hard to say. He never really told me what he was going to do, so I didn’t know. I felt like I was always guessing.

So he has a good poker face?

Definitely! I was a bit more honest with him than he was with me, so that tells me that he didn’t really know for a long time there. Then when he got suspended and his dad became sick, I thought that would be the nail in the coffin for him to go home, but obviously he really wants to win a flag at West Coast, and hats off to him for sticking around after what happened to him.

What was it like for you being a free agent and fielding offers from not just Port Adelaide but others?

It was difficult. It was something I’ve never experienced — the media talking about your contract and being scrutinised so heavily within my performance after Nic Nat went down. I think I will be in a better place after going through those experiences.

You had a great finals series and came up against two juggernauts in the last two games. How did you prepare for those match-ups?

I didn’t think my stats were that great, but my role in the team was very clear and all I had to do was nullify their influence. That’s probably something that every coach tells their player to do when they go up against Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy. Shutting those guys down went a long way to us winning, and I was just happy that I could contribute in that way. I hope that goes down as something that people think about when they reflect on us winning the flag.

It sounds easy when you say you just had to nullify their influence, so what tactics did you employ?

I still tried to hunt the footy as much as possible, but we identified some ways to break them down on top of that. With Grundy, we understood that he had a dominant side so we tried to take that away from him, and then around the ground, I planned to be as close as possible to both Gawn and Grundy. It wasn’t easy, but I think I’m in a better place after playing against those players in some big games.

With Paddy Ryder already there, how do you see your role playing out at Port?

From what I am thinking at the moment, it will be quite similar to what I was doing at West Coast. But a lot will depend on how Paddy is going with his body and whether he spends more time forward and I spend more time in the ruck. It will depend on how we’re going at the time so we will wait and see once we start training.

It’ll be a strange feeling for you, rocking up to training at a new club…

I spoke to a couple of my older teammates about that, and I guess it could be easy to go overboard with the celebrations after winning the flag, and some guys might not arrive at pre-season in the best of nick, but I want to try and impress my new teammates and coaches. Hopefully I can share my experiences about the Grand Final and how we did it because I think everyone wants to know how we did it, because they all thought we were going to come last! It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it.

Did you use those predictions as motivation?

It was brought up! It was just the fact that no one rated us, so we used that as fuel for the fire. It worked for us, that’s for sure. Even when we won 10 games in a row, I still didn’t think that we were getting rated then. We used that as motivation that we won 10 in a row and they’re still not rating us, so it was good in the end that no one gave us a chance because it provided that fire in the belly to prove them wrong.

Thanks for the chat, Scott.

Thanks a lot!