ISAAC Smith is determined to go with the flow in his first experience of grand final week.
Hawthorn's slick midfielder knows the dangers of over-thinking in football. He experienced it earlier this season, his second with the Hawks, when his output dipped.
A period of self-evaluation led him to a new outlook. ''I was worried more about my role playing for the team instead of trying to impact games, which is probably my role for my team,'' he said this week. ''The last two months have been really good, but the first part was a bit slow.
''Over-thinking, that's the thing, maybe getting a bit complacent, I'm not too sure. Every game's so tough now you've got to be up and about to produce and perform well.''
Smith, 23, now knows that he needs to be up to play well. Not for him the dour role playing that some footballers are bound to. ''For me to play well, I need that energy. So 'don't go in your shell, be excited. Get around the boys when they kick a goal'. They seem to do that a fair bit. Just all those little things.
''I've got to have energy and be exciting. I don't know what the word is. Just be out there, doing my own thing and enjoying it. I just thought, 'I've got to get that energy back'. I realised I had to really lift.''
Smith played in Hawthorn's losing preliminary final team last year and was denied.
A grand final berth excites him. ''It's a lifetime dream,'' he said. ''I don't know if it makes it all the more sweeter, but two years ago I didn't even have the opportunity to even be anywhere near this. Dad always said it was the ultimate to play in an AFL grand final, so if you get the opportunity … we've got the opportunity now, so I'm going to relish it.''
Smith said he was ignoring all the talk about the grand final and focusing on preparation. ''For me it's important not to get sucked into social media and replying to every text. I'll do that in weeks to come. Just enjoy it and not get sucked into all the talk beforehand and just take it as a game.''
He knows there will be about 100,000 there on Saturday, but he is trying to ignore the fact. ''You don't even think about it [the crowd]. My mates all played in a grand final back at Redan. It's a grand final. It's not the same level but it's still exciting when you're out there. Fifty people or 100,000, I'd play a grand final in a cow paddock in front of no one.''