PORT Sharks centre Zak Aylward has already had a couple of sleepless nights this week he's that excited about playing for the club in a Group 3 rugby league grand final on Sunday against Port City Breakers.
Aylward has just come back to the Sharks this season after a few years playing with this weekend's opponents.
A phone call from captain-coach Matt Shipway was all that was needed. Aylward put pen to paper shortly afterwards.
"I suppose Shippy just chased harder," he said.
He had played junior footy with the Sharks before switching to the Breakers because a couple of his mates were in the side.
Aylward was glad he'd switched back, but there wasn't any ill feeling between him and the Breakers.
"There's no bad there or anything," Aylward said.
"I still respect all of the boys."
The Sharks have had just the one loss this season. That was 16-10 to the Wauchope Blues at Lank Bain Complex.
A bit like former Australian treasurer and Prime Minister Paul Keating describing the "recession we had to have", Aylward said the Wauchope defeat was required for the Sharks to get back on track.
"That kick up the arse against Wauchope, we needed that," he said.
It had been a dream run apart from that, which could be capped off with a big grand final celebration on Sunday afternoon after the final whistle.
If the Sharks win, it will be well deserved for everyone, but especially for players like Aylward.
Shipway paid tribute to the centre for his hard work throughout the year.
"He's been good," Shipway said.
"He's one of those blokes who goes under the radar. He's a good trainer, he doesn't whinge."
The past couple of meetings between the teams have been blowouts, but Shipway was expecting a closer encounter this time around.
"They're going to be a different team, but so are we," he said.
"They're going to be pretty fired up. It's going to be a good battle."