Wild horses couldn't keep Jacob Burns from the finals, so sore ribs certainly won't but what has really driven him and the Glory is the scathing criticism they copped mid-season.
Literally and metaphorically the sun is shining on Perth and the Glory.
Everything seems to be going right for the boys from the west at the right time of the year and club captain Jacob Burns is full of confidence ahead of their elimination final with Melbourne Heart.
Burns is also adamant he will return from his rib injury, but such is the nature of the battle-hardened Glory skipper you get the feeling even a full set of broken ones wouldn-t keep him out of finals football.
“The ribs are progressing, they-re still a little bit tender but I got full a through session with the main group, so that-s a positive,” Burns said, before confirming the hard as nails reputation he enjoys.
“I don-t think you could keep me away from that game at all,” he mused
“I think that I-ll be a little bit uncomfortable , but the adrenalin will kick in and I-ll be fine, but it-s also reassuring that I was at competitive training and copped a few little knocks that helped show where I-m at.”
In typically tough style Burns said he would not be concerned by his ribs being targeted against the Heart and vowed to carry on with his physical style, while expecting Perth to turn out their best squad in weeks.
“I-m not worried. I-m sure they won-t target any single one of us and I-m sure it will be a competitive and entertaining match and to be honest they way I play is always competitive anyway so I won-t hold back and they-re not going to, but I won-t be thinking of it,” Burns said.
“Liam Miller also got through training OK and Bas van den Brink is jogging. Finals are big games that no one wants to miss, so I-m sure the gaffer will have a full selection to pick from.”
The gaffer himself has had quite the week, with Ian Ferguson getting a new two-year deal out of Glory boss Tony Sage and Burns reckons that has only spurred the team on, much like the criticism of Ferguson and the team did mid-season.
The success made all that much sweeter because of the often spike-tipped slings and arrows of negative media.
“It-s great news . He has been the target of some criticism throughout the season and it-s well documented the owner wanted us to make finals at the least and also he has done better than that to help us finish third,” Burns said of Ferguson-s appointment.
“For me personally it makes it (the third place) that much sweeter, whenever you do well and prove people wrong to answer criticism it-s always something that makes you even prouder.
“All along we as players knew what we were up against but also have known the quality in the team, we have always backed ourselves, we have tremendous character and belief and it-s shone through adversity to see us finish in the top three, which is a fantastic achievement on its own.
“We were always aware once we had everyone fully fit that we would work together as a group, with really half a team of new players that have come in.”
One of the new recruits was of course Shane Smeltz and the All White delivered an ominous warning to all his opposition last weakened with a four-goal haul against the Victory.
That performance is one that has had Burns smiling ever since.
“Smeltzy is a class act he has proved that year in year out and that-s why I would say the club bought him. When he is fine form like that I don-t think many people can stop him, even outside the A-League and it was a great confidence booster for himself and the team.”
So how confident are the Glory as they head into a battle with a young Melbourne side who wear their collective Heart on their sleeve?
“We have belief in our ability and the football that we play but I-d be lying and I don-t think it would be right of myself to say you can-t improve on each and every game” he said.
“They (Heart) are a fantastic team but we weren-t looking around when we finished the last round wondering who would it be? Whether it was Sydney or Newcastle or the Heart, you know you will be facing a game.”
That game is Sunday and Burns wanted to let Glory fans know he expected support in droves from a state who has a history of proudly getting behind their sporting teams.
“Nib Stadium is a very tough place to come. I think we have shown that throughout the season, especially if we have a big crowd, we are expecting a packed stadium in full voice and we hope they will be that extra man for us.”