The Yass Redbacks’ Division 3 team clinched a 5-1 win over Australian National University on the weekend, and simultaneously confirmed themselves as the minor premiers for 2018.
The result is an improvement on last year’s for the Redbacks, who finished fourth in 2017 and were knocked out in the semi-final.
Coach John Mannweiler said the team’s underwhelming result last year was motivation for his side this season.
“Last year we got knocked out of the finals in the minor semis, so we wanted to make sure we earned a second crack at it if we happened to lose the first game in the finals this year,” he said.
“And that just culminated into us being on top of the table, which is great. Losing in the first semi, and it was a really close game, it’s not a nice feeling when you think you’re on top and you miss outright at the end.”
The season has not been all smooth sailing for the Redbacks, as they were struck by several injuries in an earlier match against Gungahlin Juventus, including a grade two medial ligament tear to the knee of Anthony Dunn, a key player at left back.
“He’s working really hard to try and be right for the grand final, but it’s tough to come back from a serious injury like that in the one year,” Mannweiler said.
The spate of injuries means that the Redbacks will have to forfeit this weekend’s game against Brindabella, however Mannweiler said that a week’s rest will do the players some good going into finals.
The feeling among the players is highly positive, Mannweiler said, and their season so far has filled them with confidence.
“Obviously we’ve lost one game all season,” he said.
“We’re confident we can beat anyone in the comp, so we’ve just got to take that confidence into the finals and hope that it comes off for us.”
The key, Mannweiler added, will be going “back to fundamentals and just sticking together as a group”.
“I think really, wanting it more would just about be enough for us to get the win. You’ve just got to really want it and stick together,” he said.
“That’s the message I’m going to give to the boys before the finals game.”