Temora's Jake Wooden confident heading into his first grand final as coach

LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Temora coach Jake Wooden kicked four goals in their semi-final win against Marrar. Picture: Kieren L Tilly
LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Temora coach Jake Wooden kicked four goals in their semi-final win against Marrar. Picture: Kieren L Tilly

Coach Jake Wooden believes Temora’s big-game experience will go a long way in Saturday’s grand final against Marrar, and warned – ominously – that they still haven’t produced a four-quarter effort this year.

Wooden, who has previously coached at Lockhart in 2013-14, is leading a team into a premiership decider for the first time, in his first season at a new club.

He is also chasing his first flag as a player, having lost a grand final with Subiaco in Western Australia at his only other attempt.

“I suppose it’s what I dream about, to coach and to be playing in a successful team, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Wooden said. 

“It helps to be surrounded by players who have got it done before. It’s a great team to coach, they know what it takes and they’re sort of leading the way.

“I’m up the front with the game plan and giving the instructions but they’re really enforcing it.”

But Wooden knows Marrar have a master at the helm, his old coach Shane Lenon. 

11 Questions with Jake Wooden

11 Questions with Jake Wooden

“Geez he's got a lot of experience at this time of year, finals and grand finals, and winning grand finals,” Wooden said. “He’s a great bloke, Sparks, and he’ll have his boys up and going.

“He's got a good footy brain and he'll throw a few things at us. But I'll be ready to go. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Half of Temora’s team has tasted success in the Mark Kruger era of 2012-2014 and Wooden said right from the start he knew he had a strong team.

After wins against the two early pacesetters, North Wagga (in round four) and Marrar (in round 10), he started to believe they could go all the way.

I suppose it’s what I dream about, to coach and to be playing in a successful team... If we come with the right attitude and play our brand of footy, I know that’s going to be good enough.

Jake Wooden

But Wooden has told his players they need to improve on their second semi-final victory against Marrar two weeks ago, when it took a big third quarter to turn the game in their favour.

He’s adamant they do have more to give. 

“We haven’t played four quarters all year, we’ve only played two or three and still got in the position we have,” Wooden said.

“So if we can string four quarters together on Saturday, I think we’ll come away with the win.”

After Marrar’s brilliant first half against East Wagga-Kooringal last week, he said the Kangaroos need to be on from the get-go, particularly in the midfield. 

“If we come with the right attitude and play our brand of footy, I know that’s going to be good enough.”