The media spoke with our wicketkeeper Matty Wade at Hobart Airport before the team departed to Brisbane on Wednesday. Here’s what our Sheffield Shield veteran had to say…
You are no stranger to Shield Finals (playing for the Victorian Bushrangers) – so how does it feel to finally be playing one for your home state?
Yeah it’s exciting and I’ve been lucky enough to play in a few Shield Finals, but it’s exciting to come back and play one for Tassie which is not something I expected after the first round of Shield Cricket, that we’d be playing in a Shield Final – but excited now just to get stuck in.
I didn’t think too much about making the Final at the start – I just wanted to come back and contribute and fit into the group, so I’m starting to feel comfortable now, so now I’m excited to go over to Brisbane thinking we are a real chance.
Did it take a while to gel with the team after being away since your early cricket career days?
Yeah it took a little bit – probably took a little bit longer than what I’d hoped for personally just to fit in and do well myself and just feel comfortable.
But that happens – I’d been away for 10 or 12 years and played with another state so I had to get back in and just understand the other players was something that took a little bit of time. But I feel comfortable now and excited to really crack in.
Jordan Silk said the team will probably tap into your Shield Final knowledge – do the other players often come to you for advice about the Shield and playing in the Final?
I haven’t really spoken to them too much as yet, but I’m sure we’ll have a good chat over the next couple of days leading into the game on how to go about it.
I’m lucky enough to have played in a few Finals and obviously ‘Bails’ (George Bailey) has played in a few himself, so we’ve got experience going up there.
It’s always hard to win away when you finish in second place, but as Silky touched on, I think the Dukes ball will play a big role to make it a ‘result’ game.
Matt Renshaw is back for Queensland which makes it tough?
Absolutely but you want your best players playing out there in a Shield Final so it’s good to see he’ll be right to go.
But we’ll back ourselves because our bowling’s been really good and if Rainy (Sam Rainbird) gets it right left arm against him and a few of their players, I think he’ll be a big player for us.
The ball has been swinging around the whole time so yeah we’re confident we can get the job done against Matt.
What’s your thoughts on the Allan Border Field – have you played much cricket there?
I spent a lot of time there over the Academy and training for tours and stuff like that, but I haven’t played a lot of games there.
It’s a strange wicket sometimes, it can be really green if there’s a bit of weather about and they can’t get the preparation into it, then it can do quite a bit.
I know I spoke to the Vics last week – I think Jimmy Patto (James Pattinson) ran through them there with the Dukes ball last season, so it moved quite a bit.
So fingers crossed that the weather hangs around and there’s a bit of grass on the wicket, but otherwise it can be hard work. But as I said I think these balls will move around for most of the day.
Is it a big thing knowing you have to win the game to claim the Shield, as a draw isn’t enough, when it comes to whether you bowl or bat first? Or with the Dukes ball and how it’s playing, does that not matter so much?
Well, when we went into Glenelg when I was with Victoria, which was a really good win – I think we just went in there thinking we wanted to play the same way that we’ve always played.
I think if you get caught up too much in the result, you start doing things that haven’t got you there.
So we’ll have a good look at the wicket and choose what we want to do based on if it was just another round game. It’s five days – it’s a long time – and as I’ve said the ball moves sideways so there’s plenty of time in the game.
So it’s best you do what suits you best and hopefully you can win from there.
How’s the confidence in the group now compared to the start of the season?
The younger players especially are feeling confident – players like Silk, Webster, Doran and those guys when they walk to the crease.
It’s good to have those guys in the top four – younger players walking out and taking the responsibility at the top of the order.
They’ve come on in leaps and bounds so hopefully they can finish off what they’ve started in the Final.