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Mar 19, 2010   |  12:17AM AET

Nerves natural for Mitch

Nerves natural for Mitch

Victory goalkeeper Mitch Langerak plans to play it natural in the build-up to his first-ever Hyundai A-League Grand Final in a bid to keep on top of his nerves.

Victory goalkeeper Mitch Langerak plans to play it natural in the build-up to his first-ever Hyundai A-League Grand Final in a bid to keep on top of his nerves.

At 21, Langerak is youngest goalkeeper ever to play in a Hyundai A-League final, having watched on form the bench as Michael Theoklitos took on custodian duties last year.

The Queensland-born stopper, who is rated by coach Ernie Merrick as the best young goalkeeper he has worked with, said nerves were a natural part of playing in such a high-pressure position.

“It is my first time playing in a Grand Final. Nerves are natural, as with all the boys playing on the day, so I just have to try handling them as best as I can. I think we’ll get onto the pitch, we’ll be alright, we’ll settle into the game as soon as we can,” he said on Thursday.

“I think me personally, I get anxiety before every game. Hopefully I can deal with it as best I can on the day.”

Langerak will not change anything in the lead-up to Saturday’s big match, saying he felt his usual preparation was the best way to deal with any anxiety he may have in the lead-up.

“I think I’ll just keep it normal. It’s natural to have the butterflies before the game. I won’t be changing my routine majorly,” he said.

Langerak can’t wait to be part of the atmosphere of playing in a Grand Final, having watched on last year as Theoklitos kept a clean sheet and Melbourne defeated Adelaide 1-0.

“I think if you asked me last year when I was on the bench in the Grand Final that I’d be playing the season after it would have been a shock but you can’t really project how your career is going to go. I’m really happy to be playing in it and exciting, it’s going to be a massive occasion for me personally,” Langerak said.

2009/10 has been a breakthrough season for Langerak, having taken over permanent goalkeeping duties from Glen Moss mid-way through the season. He said the regular match time has helped him develop as a keeper this season.

“The opportunity to play with the senior boys on a regular basis has been great. It’s difficult when you come in for game here and a game there, but to be able to play consistently you learned a lot about where you are,” he said.

And Langerak expects a busy night between the posts, rating the Sky Blues’ attack as one of the best in the competition.

“I think they’ve got a potent attacking force. They’ve got Brosquey, Bridgey, obviously Aloisi’s out, they’ll have players stepping in because they’ve got such a good squad, that’s the reason they’ve done so well this year,” he said.