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McGovern 'always wanted to stay'

Mitch McGovern with fellow Crows forward Eddie Betts - Mitch McGovern,Adelaide Crows
Mitch McGovern with fellow Crows forward Eddie Betts
I always wanted to stay at the footy club
Mitch McGovern

Adelaide forward Mitch McGovern has opened up about the stress he was under before signing a three-year contract extension with the Crows.

The 22-year-old's future was a hot topic all year, with speculation linking him with a return to Western Australia on a big-money deal to Fremantle.

But McGovern put that to rest on the eve of the finals, putting pen to paper on a new deal with the Crows that will see him stay at West Lakes until 2020.

"It was a bit of a relief," McGovern told AFL Media.

"My face was being shown, not only here, but in WA every second day, and it started to bear a bit of a burden on me, especially with family members and other people outside the footy club.

"It put a big cloud above my head with everything I did.

"I always wanted to stay at the footy club, it just took a bit longer than expected to reach terms."

McGovern admitted the lure of being closer to family in WA and the possibility of playing alongside older brother, West Coast defender Jeremy, came into consideration.

"It was a bloody tough decision," McGovern said.

"I spoke to (mum and dad and Jeremy) as frequently as I could and tried to keep them in the loop about how I was feeling and whether it was playing a part on me with my footy, or outside life or anything like that.

"They were fantastic to use as a sounding board.

"They were pretty open and honest with me, and they were very happy for me to stay at Adelaide because they know how great the footy club is."

McGovern tore his hamstring tendon in the Round Three Showdown with Port Adelaide, the three-month layoff and the accompanying rehab proving to be a blessing in disguise with contract talks on the horizon.

"It was sort of a good thing in a way, a bit of a distraction for me," he said.

"That gave me a focus on something I needed to do, something I needed to put all my energy into and not worrying about what I'm going to do going forward.

"It became a focal point for me rather than stressing about what my future is going to be, and where that's going to be."

McGovern is now focused on helping the Crows claim their first premiership since 1998.

He's played an integral role in the second half of the season, including taking a huge contested mark and kicking a goal after the siren to secure a draw against Collingwood.

"It was quite a surreal experience," McGovern said.

"It's given me confidence going forward in almost everything I'm doing on the footy field that I'm capable of being at the level.

"As a team, we're capable of overcoming almost any deficit and the resilence we showed to get back into the game."

The Crows will host the winner of Friday night's Semi-Final between Geelong and Sydney in a Preliminary Final at Adelaide Oval next Friday night.

"The focus is on the first fight that we have, whoever that might be against," McGovern said.

"It's going to be a fierce contest.

"I think that's what we keep ourselves focused on, not try to look too far into the future and really take every step as it comes."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs