Temora ruckman Anthony Atkin is soaking up the grand final atmosphere this week.
After moving from Newcastle last year, due to his partner’s work, the athletic big man is approaching a career highlight.
“It’s a nice buzz around the town, all the town’s getting all blue and white,” he said. “I’m just real keen. It’s my first grand final so it’s really exciting.”
Atkin, 27, gave his all last year when Temora missed finals. With a stronger side and he and midfielders Sam Jensen and Kieran Shea in their second year together, he’s had a massive role in the Roos’ return. He said having the Canberra quartet training every couple of weeks has also helped.
“The midfield has really upped the standard, I reckon, especially with Campy (Stephen Camp) coming in this year,” Atkin said.
“It’s more direct communication and working really well as a unit.”
Atkin’s family is based in Wodonga and will be at Robertson Oval on Saturday.
“Mum and Dad are coming up to watch,” he said. “They’re pretty excited. Dad’s won a couple of flags himself (in Victoria and in Newcastle).”
Atkin was in line to represent the Farrer League this season but was concussed at The Rock the week prior.
His ability was on display in the semi-final win against Marrar, when the Temora midfielder hit a purple patch for 15 minutes in the third quarter, winning clearance after clearance in dramatic – and exciting – fashion.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Atkin said. “That third quarter was probably the best quarter I’ve played in a midfield. For us to come back like that, work together, get back in the game and end up winning, it was a really good feeling.”
Despite doing almost all the work in the ruck, all season he said the body’s holding up.
“Really good actually,” he said. “Coming into finals I’ve been doing a lot more rehab and that sort of stuff and it’s really helped.”