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Grin and bear it: how Zaharakis will conquer finals nerves

David Zaharakis of the Bombers during a clash with the Demons at Etihad Stadium.
David Zaharakis of the Bombers during a clash with the Demons at Etihad Stadium. JULIAN SMITH

DAVID Zaharakis should be used to September nerves heading into Saturday's clash with the Swans - this time last year he came face-to-face with a bear.

The Bombers midfielder, who is preparing for his first final since 2014, revealed the terrifying experience happened when he was hiking through the Canadian wilderness.

He said "I absolutely crapped myself" when the brown bear looked at him from a metre away.

Speaking on the latest edition of Bomber podcast Hard Tag, Zaharakis said he was hiking Panorama Ridge in Canada when two women warned him they had spotted a bear 100m down the track.

"It was in September last year, so right at the end of summer, which is bear season over there," he said.

"They said 'don't worry, he's eating berries and that sort of stuff'.

"I approached a corner, picked up the pace a bit because you are not meant to run and got my phone out, on Snapchat ready to film it, and as I went around the corner about a metre away, and I'm not exaggerating here, the bear was coming up from the meadow.

"He stopped in his tracks and turned his head and looked straight at me from about a metre away."

Zaharakis, who signed a new four-year deal with the Bombers last week, said he didn't get any pictorial evidence because he was that scared he couldn't move.

"I couldn't get my phone up, I absolutely crapped myself. I was incapable of moving my arm," he said.

"It looked at me and I absolutely packed it.

"I just stood still and then slowly backed away, like one step at a time, and as soon as I got back around that corner I legged it.

"I was shattered I didn't get any footage."

Topics:  david zaharakis essendon bombers

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