Cries of “All Australian” also bounced off the empty Princes Park stands from the Blues players chipping their teammate.
Weitering has been very impressive this year. His numbers year on year have not changed significantly – though he is averaging a career-high five rebound 50s a game – because last year he had already elevated his game, but he has looked increasingly composed and assertive in the backline. More so even than last year he is attacking a contest with confidence.
Partly that is because he has grown stronger and bigger to trade weight with those big full-forwards. More significantly it is because he has realised in the last 12 months or so that he has grown that bit bigger and stronger to trade weight with the big forwards.
Weitering is a former number one draft pick and so was independently judged as an elite player of his generation. And yet at the next level he has had to repeatedly remind himself, almost as a mantra, that he belongs. Over and over he tells himself that he is good enough to be there and to beat the big full-forwards.
“Physically it takes time for a key position to develop to play against bigger guys – Tom Hawkins is probably five kilos heavier than me. Tom Lynch’s form throughout the finals and Tom McDonald is a very good player as well,” Weitering said, explaining the improvement and consistency in his game over the last 12 months from a period when he was drifting.
“Physically I feel like I can go out there and perform against them.
“The mental side is telling myself over and over again I can compete with those guys and coming off the back of last year a bit of consistency and the pre-season I had I was wanting to go out there and do my job for the team.”
Weitering’s inclination is not to speak of himself and he defers to the connection he has with Liam Jones, the support of Sam Docherty’s return and the coaching advice of backs coach Dale Amos but most importantly the self-perpetuating impact of his teammates form up the ground.
It’s the pressure of the midfielders to force the opposition into kicking high balls into the forward line which is the way Weitering likes the ball arriving most.
The win at Geelong was as good as he has been involved in – up there with David Teague’s first win against Brisbane last year.
Seeing as we hadn’t won the there in 24 years and I wasn’t even born the last time we won there then it is right up there. The boys take a lot of confidence out of that,” he said.
“I really like the mentality at the moment where we are being ruthless and we want to go out and take on the best and Geelong at their home ground we certainly went in there thinking we could beat them and went down there and did it.”
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.