AFTER watching on from the sidelines as his teammates won last year’s premiership while still recovering from a knee reconstruction, Matt Suckling can’t contain his excitement at winning his way into a Grand Final.

In the rooms after Hawthorn’s nail-biting three-point win over Port Adelaide at the MCG, Suckling couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.

He has played in one Grand Final before – the 2012 loss to Sydney – and on Saturday he will get the opportunity to taste the ultimate success for the first time.

While he was happy for his best mates last year and enjoyed the success of a premiership win, ultimately missing out on that elusive premiership medal has served as a motivator in 2014.

He’s not dwelling on that now though, instead he’s just looking forward to the opportunity that lies ahead.

“Growing up it’s all you dream of,” Suckling told

“To see the boys to do it last year and to see how happy they were, it really made me want to be part of it this year.

“It’s very exciting. Last year I had to watch on from the sidelines but I’m not really dwelling on that now, I’m just excited about the opportunity that’s ahead.”

But reaching this point hasn’t been easy.

After returning from that serious knee injury in Round 1 this year and playing 21 consecutive games, Suckling suffered another knee injury in the Round 22 win over Geelong.

Although it was on the minor scale, the injury kept him out of the final home-and-away game against Collingwood and saw him miss the first final against Geelong.

Thankfully, with the Hawks securing the week off by defeating the Cats and progressing straight into a Preliminary Final, it gave Suckling more time to recover.

It was a nervous wait though, and he admits he was worried on Wednesday night – the night before Hawthorn’s main training session ahead of Saturday’s clash against Port Adelaide.

“I nearly didn’t get to the starting line again but I’m glad to be part of it,” he said.

“I was worried on Wednesday night but to get through training on Thursday was great.

“I must thank all the players and all the coaches for backing me in this week.”

Winning a spot in the Grand Final didn’t come easily either, with the Hawks having to withstand a late charge from Port Adelaide.

The Power kicked four goals in eight minutes to almost snatch victory but a game-saving smother from skipper Luke Hodge and the desperate acts of Brian Lake, Shaun Burgoyne and Jack Gunston moments before the siren to lock the ball up helped the Hawks advance.

Suckling, who played a vital role in the win with 20 disposals and a goal was in defence with the siren sounded and says it was nothing but pure relief.

“It’s a funny thing because you don’t know how long is left,” he recalled.

“I only just heard the siren through the crowd and I dropped to my knees.

“It was just the biggest relief.”