North Wagga forward Daniel Jordan says faith in their football and confidence in each other has been the backbone of the Saints’ successful season.
Nowhere is that better epitomised than in Jordan’s own role, settling up forward where he became the league’s joint-leading goalkicker (with Temora’s Matt Wallis) booting 63 goals in the home-and-away season, before adding another six in their last two finals.
It’s a change from the ‘swing man’ role he ended up with last year, after arriving at McPherson Oval as a key defender in 2016.
“It’s been good for my confidence, but also for the boys knowing that I’m going to be down there,” Jordan said.
“Not like last year, switching back and forth, it created a bit of uncertainty for us going forward I think.”
A lifetime backman, Jordan has witness an evolution in his teammates as well as his own game and knows how special a win would be.
“It’d be massive,” he said.
“When I first rocked up, I was one of the older boys. We had a young group and we sort of didn’t know how we wanted to play footy. We just sort of played and if we won, we won. Since then, and last year, we’re really setting our brand of footy we want to play. We’ve got a good system there to fall back on if things don’t go our way. It’s just trust in our players and creates confidence and belief.”
Jordan, who celebrated his 26th birthday this week, has already had a momentous season, with the birth of daughter Darcy six weeks ago, a younger sister for Oliver, 3.
He said he and wife Rheannan are enjoying being new parents again and he’s getting more than enough sleep for a grand final.
It will be Jordan’s second senior decider, after being in Belconnen’s losing team in 2015 in Canberra. On that occasion, they were the unfortunate team to go in unbeaten and lose in a grand final.
This time around, he’s intent on enjoying the occasion, with the Saints spending almost the entire week together – from recoveries, to team dinners and training.
“It’s been great fun,” he said.”
Jordan said the ankle injury that kept him out of their first final against Temora has continued to improve in two games back and says he’ll be ‘right to go’ on Saturday.
He’s likely to be marked by teen Bomber Adam Whyte who’s had the job on Jordan in their three meetings this year.
“He’s a good defender. I can see a bit of my younger self in him,” Jordan said. “Attack the footy, play the footy hard, and if you get some goals kicked against you, don’t drop your head. I’m looking forward to the game and hopefully we come out on top.”
Jordan said it’s a 50-50 call to query whether there’s more pressure playing down back or up forward in a premiership decider.
“It goes a bit both ways, I think,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to decide a grand final. High pressure, the stakes are high and things go either way. Especially this weekend, the teams are evenly matched and those little things can decide a match.
“It’d be nice to kick a bag in a grand final but I’ve got confidence in everyone else. In the first final, I didn’t play and we won by 10 goals (against Temora).”