Heading into the 2021 AFL season, Charlie Spargo made a promise to give himself every chance to succeed.
The 21-year-old Demon has stuck to his word to produce his best season to date, playing 24 matches.
He's now just one game away from fulfilling his football dream.
"This year in the off-season I made a concerted effort to get my body in the best possible shape it could be so that every week I could give my best," he said.
"In 2019 and 2020 I had a few injuries that interrupted my ability to get some continuity, and it just came down to me probably not being as fit as I need to be.
"I have definitely become a lot more professional and figured out what it takes to be a good AFL player each week."
While Melbourne's grand final clash against Western Bulldogs won't be exactly how he once imagined it in front of family and friends at the MCG, he's beyond grateful to be stepping out onto Perth's Optus Stadium.
Despite a scare after jarring his ankle during a club tackling drill last Saturday, the young Demon is ready to go.
"I'm very excited, but I'm a very nervous person, so I can't really get my mind off it (the game) at the moment," he said.
"What I've learnt to do over my four years in the AFL is just to embrace being nervous.
"I think I play my best footy when I'm a little bit on edge.
"It's not what I would have dreamt when I was growing up, but over the last two seasons all of us have become used to things that are outside the norm.
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"Now we've played in front of no crowds and travelled interstate for long periods of time."
The small forward played for his home club Albury Tigers and the Murray Bushrangers before being taken by Melbourne at pick number 29 in the 2017 draft.
He relocated to Melbourne when he was 15 to attend Melbourne Grammar School, where he also played football.
"Going to boarding school and being away from home made me become a lot more independent," he said.
"I think that's helped me with footy and has just made me more organised."
The Demons are looking to claim their first premiership since 1964, with their devoted supporters willing them to break the drought.
"We hear a lot from supporters about how much they want it and how a lot of them have never seen one before," Spargo said.
"It's a bit weird for me because I came in in 2018 and we made the finals that year.
"I haven't really experienced the really tough times, but I've heard a lot about it.
"This has been the year where it's been building for a few years.
"It's no fluke and we have worked really hard to get to where we are."
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