As someone that’s been there before in a Shield Final, what’s the message been to the group?
To be honest we haven’t spoken a lot about it. Today (Tuesday) is our first real training day since the win over Victoria.
But the message will be pretty similar I think leading into this game – it’s another game of cricket but with an extra day to play in it.
Obviously it’s a big occasion playing in a Shield Final and we’re all really excited to be a part of it, and just really looking forward to the week and treating it no differently to how we’ve treated our other 10 games this season so far.
What are your memories of your last Shield Final?
A blur really for me. I came in with a couple of games left in the season. You know we had a really good team back then with the likes of Ponting and Bailey, Butterworth, Hilfenhaus.
It was a completely different looking side that faced Queensland last time around. And it’s a completely different looking side for them too. So it shapes to be a really exciting game of cricket I reckon.
Can you tell us more about your journey from winning a Shield Final early on, then having a few pretty lean years when you had to really battle, and now storming back into the Final again. Does that really steel your focus having gone through that pain?
Yeah it does – in a way it’s sort of surprising to be back in this position so quickly but it’s full credit to everyone involved here at Cricket Tas.
But it certainly feels different this time around. Like I said last time was such a blur. I do have good memories of it, but I kind of felt like I was riding on the coat tails of everyone else really in that team.
This time around it feels really well earned I think through a lot of hard work that the squad’s put in over the past 12 months with the changes that have been made.
Again it’s full testament to everyone involved at Cricket Tas from the top to the bottom.
With those changes, your new Head Coach Adam Griffith mentioned a 3-5 Year Plan to reach this point and being surprised to reach the Shield Final so quickly. So you agree with that sentiment?
Yeah I think so but we’ve also – not just through coaching staff – we’ve also had a few players who’ve come in and made a really big impact straightaway.
I think Matthew Wade’s back half of the year has been enormous for us and he shapes to be a big player for us.
He’s played in a lot of these Shield Finals before and we’ll certainly lean on him for that extra bit of experience and guidance.
Tom Rogers is another player who’s come in and just had an unbelievable season, so there’s been a couple of personnel changes.
But apart from that, it’s a pretty similar group to the one that we’ve had in the past and we’ve played a lot of cricket together now, albeit through some really tough times.
But that’s certainly galvanized the group and now we’re super excited to be back in this position.
It’s no surprise through the way we’ve played through this back half of the year stringing together some really good games of cricket.
You mentioned Matthew Wade – what’s his chirpiness like on-field during the game, and is it important heading into a Final?
Yeah it is important – it’s just the way he goes about it too. It’s from a clever sort of angle that gives us a really good presence on the field.
And when you’re on top in a game you can really jump on the back of that sort of stuff. So it’s not just his impact through his presence on the field but also his batting in the last five or six weeks that has really set some games up for us. So looking forward to one more week of that sort of stuff from him.
Queensland have beaten Tasmania both times during this regular season, so what have you taken from those losses for this time around?
I wasn’t there in the second game but it was a bit of bad luck I think maybe up at the Gabba where we had a few bowlers go down during that game.
Obviously we played them early in the season down here and it wasn’t a fruitful game for us and they got one on top.
But you know, looking down the track, we’re a different sort of team now with getting the likes of Jackson Bird back fully fit and people like Wadey in form.
And it shapes to be a completely different task up at AB Field where we’re not really sure what conditions will be like.
I think winning is a habit and both teams have made that a habit in recent times so should be an exciting week.
Do you expect Queensland to come out and really try to win the game or be content to play for the draw which is all they actually need?
I think they play to win and if you look over their last couple of games they’ve set up some sort of run chases for other teams in the last few weeks.
I think that’s probably the way they’re coached as well. So I’d expect no different really and it’s an extra day of cricket too to be fair as well and these Dukes balls have provided a lot of results over the last five weeks.
So I’d expect both teams to be pushing for the win, but if they were in a position where they could defend it, then they may just choose to go down that path. Certainly for us there’s no choice.
Does the Dukes ball bring Tasmania more into the game as you actually need to force the win?
Yes it does which is exciting because the ball does keep the bowlers in it for much longer. We’ve spoken about it at times here at Bellerive when the middle session has almost been the hardest time to bat.
Because with the new ball you are waiting for that lacquer to come off, and once it comes off, the ball actually starts to swing a lot more consistently than what the new ball does.
So that will always keep us in the game and with our five quicks that we’ve got at the moment, who are all bowling well, it just sets up to be really good for us.
This team that we’ve had has won the last two games pretty well so I’d be surprised if there’s any changes. But that’s in Griff’s and Bails’ hands.
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