Despite playing every game for the Swans since round eight last year, including a career-first full home-and-away season, the 201cm ruckman said he still wasn’t willing to settle for mediocrity ahead of the Swans’ finals campaign, which begins this Friday night against Hawthorn at the MCG.
“I think personally I feel a bit more established in the team this year, which is nice because you don’t feel like you’re on the edges as much, but with that said, that’s always a week-to-week proposition,” Pyke told media on Wednesday.
“Whilst you’re in the team regularly, you still feel nerves when you don’t play well, so certainly everyone is on edge at this time of year.”
Pyke’s 2013 season has been his best year to date, having contributed 26 goals and is currently ranked second in the competition for contested marks, behind Collingwood key forward Travis Cloke.
“I feel really confident and I feel like the confidence around me has probably grown,” Pyke said of his year.
“I think sometimes when you make a one-off mistake it’s not down to the fact that I don’t have any idea what I’m doing anymore, it’s down to the fact that it’s a one-off mistake.
“I think it’s probably natural development in the game.
“I hit the 50-game milestone this year, which I thought was really important, and then it’s also just general work at your game and just doing the most you can to get the best out of yourself.”
With this week’s qualifying final just two days away, Pyke said he felt the Swans were building into the right form in time for Friday night’s meeting with the minor premiers.
The 29-year-old said last week’s narrow loss to the Hawks, rather than their disappointing loss to Hawthorn at the MCG in round seven, would be the game the team would focus on leading into this week’s final.
“I think the most important thing is getting a good build up during the regular season,” he said.
“I think you build some games along the way and hopefully you find form at the right time of year and people at the club are feeling reasonably confident at the moment.
“Form is always important and I don’t think anyone cares about how we played against them back in round (seven), this time is more important than the beginning of the year.
“Nearing finals obviously the ball becomes more contested and the intensity goes up and hopefully our game will go up in accordance to that.”
Pyke, who played in last year’s qualifying final win over Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, also stressed the importance of securing a win in the first round of finals this week.
The Canadian said last year’s interstate win went a long way to setting up the Swans’ successful campaign, which culminated with premiership success.
“It’s a huge opportunity for ourselves and all the teams who are in top four,” he said.
“It’s a must win this week and if you don’t we can regroup and we’re fortunate to be in that position and we’ve worked hard during the season to get that second chance, but no doubt we’re going down there with the intention to win.”