With finals experience behind him that includes a grand final appearance, Jake Kolodjashnij admits to there now being a feeling of comfort for him at this time of year.
The 26-year-old is preparing for his 14th AFL final, Geelong's qualifying final against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
"For me it is a big thing to have that experience under my belt, as I remember heading into my first finals series [in 2016] I was a nervous wreck, but I know what to expect now,'' the versatile defender said this week.
"I know what is required now and what you need to do to prepare yourself for the big moments, so it definitely does hold me in good stead knowing how to cope in finals."
Kolodjashnij, the 41st pick in the 2013 national draft, admitted that last year's grand final loss to Richmond was still in the back of his mind, but he had confidence Chris Scott's class of 2021 could go one step further.
"I think we can do some good things, but we know it will be a tough road, as finals are tough,'' he said.
"Port are our number one focus at the moment and we can't drift our minds too far ahead of that.
"We will just be looking to be the best we can be against them and hopefully we can ride that momentum if we can put in a good performance.
"The big thing against the Power will be our contest work as they are really good at the contest and have some bulls around the ball [like Travis Boak and Ollie Wines]. It will also be about our movement of the footy.
"When they knocked us off in that final [last year] we conceded down the line a lot, but getting our ball movement going will help our forwards as well as when we go pretty slow that is when they can be damaging in defence."
The Cats will be without important defender Tom Stewart, an intercept specialist that Kolodjashnij described as a "super player', with the Tasmanian saying the entire defensive group knew they had to step up "that little bit extra now".
While he was happy that his side made the top four, Kolodjashnij did admit it would of been nice in a way to be in his home state this weekend playing in one of the elimination finals and that it wouldn't be the worst outcome if he ended up at UTAS Stadium in semi-final week.
"I was pumped to hear this was happening,'' he said.
"I haven't played at UTAS Stadium since my 18s year, and while fingers crossed we get the result this week, if things didn't go to plan and we had to play in Tassie it would be amazing.
"I have some great memories of playing junior footy and sort of growing up on that oval, so it would be a cool experience to play in a finals game down there."
The 129-game player was also happy with the news that decision on a Tasmanian AFL team one way or another was coming next year.
"That is massive for Tasmanian footy,'' he said.
"The fact there is a decision is obviously great for the state and hopefully it all goes to plan and there is a team down there."
Koldojashnij, whose twin brother Kade played 80 games for Gold Coast and Melbourne before retiring in 2020 due to the impacts of concussion, finally kicked the first goal of his career in round 21 against GWS, something he said was a big relief.
There will be some extra motivation to win on Friday in Tom Hawkins' 300th game, with Kolodjashnij saying the Cats keen to acknowledge it in the right fashion.