Big Beau living in a dream
By Digby Beacham

Saturday, September 29, 2001

BEAU McDonald was last night still avoiding serious body contact following Brisbane's stunning come-from-behind victory over Essendon.
He was not sore, rather just extremely cautious about being awoken from what he described as an ''unbelievable dream''.
''I don't know what to say,'' McDonald said. ''When the final siren went, I just . . . it's a dream. I don't want to pinch myself just in case of body contact. I don't want anybody to pinch me or touch me.''
McDonald, who started on the bench and had his first taste of action midway through the first quarter when he relieved Clark Keating, joined his teammates and coach Leigh Matthews out on a desolate and dark MCG 2 1/2 hours after the match to soak up their achievement.
The nephew of former St Kilda, Geelong and Fitzroy strongman Garry Sidebottom, McDonald managed only one handball but had 18 hitouts, most thumped forward in typical style to allow his midfielders to cash in.
''I knew we would have to play well to win but we did very well, especially after half-time,'' he said.
''They have done so many good things so often but we knew if we kept in touch and got on top in the middle we would stand a chance.
''It's an amazing feeling to actually win it -- it means all the hard shit you've done during the pre-season and during the year counts for everything.''
McDonald has flourished since being plucked from the Swan Districts colts side. His role last season in the absence of Keating, who missed the entire year following knee surgery, earned plaudits from Matthews.
Though he was still only 19, McDonald played a starring role and finished the year second in AFL hitouts.
''Yeah, that gave me the confidence and now I know I can play at this level,'' he said.
''It's been great to be able to play alongside 'Keats' and to play in a side which has blokes like (Michael) Voss, (Alastair) Lynch, (Jason) Akermanis, (Nigel) Lappin and (Shaun Hart) Harty is great.''
McDonald still pays close attention to how Swans fare in the WAFL and is convinced they will return as a force.
''I'm a long way from there now but I don't forget where I come from -- I still love the Black Ducks (Swans) and they'll bounce back,'' he said.