Thunder's grand dream

IF anyone knows just what it will take for Bendigo Thunder to beat La Trobe University in this weekend’s Victorian Women’s Football League north-west division grand final, it’s Amy Shrive.

This time last year, the 22-year-old won a VWFL premiership playing for the Trobers.

Tomorrow, she lines up against her former team-mates, many of whom are still among her closest friends, hoping to help Thunder claim the ultimate prize in only their second season.

The winger and occasional forward said she was looking forward to the challenge, having already faced La Trobe several times throughout the season, including the semi-final two weeks ago in which the Bendigo girls were jumped at the start and never really recovered.

“I was very nervous in my first game against them, but playing in that semi-final really shook out any strange feelings I might have had,” she said yesterday.

“Now I am just hoping we can go out there and win.”

The key, she said, would be simply playing the style of football that took Thunder through the home-and-away season undefeated and got them into the grand final in the first place.

“We just have to repeat what we did last weekend,” Shrive said of the Russell Jeffrey-coached side’s emphatic 67-point demolition of North Ballarat in the preliminary final.

“We really clicked and everyone worked so well as a team.  In the semi-final, we didn’t play our usual game of footy and we all knew that. We talked about it at training this week – we all know what we are capable of as a team and we know we can’t go changing anything. 

“We can’t get too excited or let it get on top of us, we just have to play our normal game and do what we have done all season.” 

Shrive spent three full seasons with La Trobe, before moving to Bendigo at the start of 2012 to study physiotherapy.

She has been named on Thunder’s interchange bench, but was thrilled to be getting a game after her uni commitments restricted her to just three games during the season.

Shrive said winning last year’s grand final was an unbelievable feeling, especially as she had been with the team since its inception, and it left her hungry for more success. 

“We couldn’t get the smiles off our faces for weeks afterwards,” she said, “and now I want to have that feeling again with this group of girls.

“As one of the original members of that team, coming to Bendigo feels similar because they are only in their second season of competition and they are very passionate about footy.

“It would be so special for this team and for Bendigo as a town to win that premiership.”

While Shrive aims for a repeat of that winning performance tomorrow, she hopes not to repeat the verbal faux pas that left her a little red-faced during last week’s prelim.

Playing against Ballarat back at her old home ground, with a big group of La Trobe players and supporters watching on, she forgot for a moment just where she was.

“I was standing on the sidelines and I must have just had a mind blank,” she recalled. 

“We had just kicked a couple of goals and were going well and I yelled out ‘Keep it up, Trobers’.

“I don’t even think I realised what I was saying – everything went silent for a moment and a girl next to me said, ‘We’re not the Trobers’. I was so devastated.

“Not many people heard it, which was good, but I was so unlucky to have (Thunder general manager) Bianca Rinaldi standing within earshot.”

#Bendigo Thunder takes on La Trobe University in the VWFL north-west division grand final at Coburg City Oval tomorrow, kicking off at noon.

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