At the conclusion of her side’s 24-point loss to the Canberra Mustangs, Brisbane Blaze running back, Amanda Ewers, gave an impassioned post-match speech about the lack of perceived mongrel running through the veins of her chargers.
Well, they’ve responded.
In the weeks since their second consecutive away loss, the undeniably likeable Blaze outfit has been putting in the hard yards to ensure a lack of aggression is no longer a descriptive phrase used to label their game day presence.
“We’ve really stepped up our training,” Ewers told the Crunch Magazine.
“From when we thought we were training 100%, it was actually 80% so we’ve really been able to step it up a little bit more.”
The increased workload and time utilised training at optimal intensity has been of such an extreme nature, a number of Blaze squad members have been forced to take time out of their hard-hitting schedule to fully recover.
“We’ve had a few girls who have had to step out for a week here, there and everywhere because we’ve put it on them a little bit too much,” Ewers said.
Sitting 0-2 on the back of two heavy losses at the hands of the Adelaide Phoenix and Mustangs, the Blaze will be looking to exact revenge and launch an all-out aggressive assault on the West Coast Angels when the two sides clash at the Queensland Sports and Aquatic Centre on Saturday night.
While the Angels are yet to win a game after succumbing to a golden point loss in their sole outing against the Phoenix, the pre-season favourites will have everything to play for with the prospect of finals still very much a real possibility for the women from the west.
They are known for their first-class offensive prowess and Ewers believes the battle between Angels’ backs, Britney Were and Kahra Sprylan, and the improved Blaze defensive unit shapes as the likely decider as to who is leading at the end of the fourth quarter.
“I know they’ve got a great offence with their running and passing game and they’ve certainly got some really quick, fit girls so from our defensive perspective that will be a good match-up,” she said.
“Our defence has some news girls, some very quick girls and girls that know this game so I’m looking forward to seeing how that will play out. I’d like to think our defence is a little bit more tight-knit than it has been more recently.”
As far as running backs in this league are concerned, Ewers’ performances to date have her pegged as one of the most dominant female athletes in the country, highlighted by the crowd-silencing 40-yard running touchdown in the first match of the season at City Mazda Arena.
“From the great pass to the great blocking by the girls and obviously being able to outrun down the sideline is just a highlight for me,” she said.
Despite being able to enjoy her moments of glory, Ewers refuses to allow them to shadow areas she believes require improvement.
The former touch football and athletics phenomenon is unrelenting on her own performance and admits there’s a number of features of her own game needing constant attention.
“A lot of what I’m doing is on natural instinct so I would like to drill it down a little bit more to morph technique and specifics in relation to the game just so I can take a step up just a little bit further and improve the little things,” she said.
“It’s just been a massive year of learning curves and I’m just so grateful for what the Blaze has been able to do for me.”
Four games into season one of the Ladies Gridiron League and with just three matches remaining on the fixture, Ewers has high hopes for both the league and females in sport and believes the upside to the attention the competition is receiving is enormous.
“I understand how much time and effort the guys getting this league up and running have done and I’m so thankful for everything they have done because so far I couldn’t imagine not playing this game,” she said.
“I hope more than anything that it does set it up for the future that we can expand into a few more states next year and certainly in the years beyond. But more than anything, use it as a platform for women in sport.
“We go through playing full kit where we’re lucky to get 100 people at the ground that we’re playing at to Adelaide where we were playing in front of 3500 people.”
Special Thanks To Kirk Manas for the Images by