In-form midfielder Jack Redden admits he feared his teammates didn’t rate him after struggling in his early days at West Coast.
Redden crossed from Brisbane to West Coast at the end of 2015, but it didn’t take long for self doubts to surface.
The 27-year-old arrived at West Coast with a hernia issue that required surgery, and his form fluctuated during his first season.
Redden improved slightly last year, but it has taken until this season for him to truly flourish.
The former Lion has averaged 25 disposals and five clearance a game this year, with his work at the stoppages proving crucial.
“I came here at a funny time. I thought I had diagnosed my groin pains, but I hadn’t,” Redden reflected on his early days at West Coast.
“It took a full pre-season to actually work out what was wrong with me – I had a hernia in my stomach.
“So I was pretty underdone, because I was playing with that a hernia for two years at Brisbane.
“It’s frustrating trying to prepare and coming into a new side when you don’t have the strength and the fitness that you want to have.”
Struggling for form, Redden couldn’t help but doubt himself, especially as the outside pressures grew.
And he often wondered what his new teammates thought of him.
“When you’re not going as well as you want, you start to think your teammates don’t rate you,” Redden said.
“And then you get a bit of negative media, and then you start to doubt yourself.
“I think that’s only natural. But I’m glad I could stick it out. I think I’ve come out the other side a stronger and better play.”
Redden has been West Coast’s player of the finals so far and according to the coaches, the second best overall if Gary Ayres award standings hold any credence.
He tallied 32 disposals and a goal in the qualifying final win over Collingwood, before following it up with 32 disposals, nine tackles, and a goal in the preliminary final smashing of Melbourne.
The only other player in contention for the award is Collingwood Rolls Royce Steele Sidebottom, who capped off a career-best season by finishing second in Monday’s Brownlow medal count.
Sidebottom starred in last week’s 39-point win over Richmond, tallying 41 disposals and five clearances playing across half back.
Redden is backing tagger Mark Hutchings to curb Sidebottom if he is given the job in Saturday’s grand final.
“I was amazed Sidebottom didn’t really get a whole lot of attention against Richmond,” Redden said.
“He had a lot of space at times, and he can be quite damaging on either side of his body.
“He’s a pretty smooth operator. I daresay we’d have to put a fair bit of time into him and make sure he’s not getting that much space.”
– With staff writer.