Finishing the Job: 5th Place Match Preview

Chris Guscott

Australia’s 2015 IFAF World Championship campaign is already the most successful tournament that the Outback has ever participated in. They’ve already defeated the two teams beneath them to confirm their ranking. Some players are on the edge of breaking tournament records.

So what’s left to prove for Australia in their 5th place match against South Korea on Saturday?

“There’s still a lot to prove,” quarterback coach Ross Smith said ahead of the team’s final film session.

“For a start, we need to finish off the tournament. We’ve got one goal and that’s to beat South Korea in this next upcoming game. We’re looking forward to this opportunity to get another W on the board, and we are cognizant of the fact that we won ugly last time (against Brazil); we want to win as pretty as we can and get some offence moving. We need to play up to our potential.” Smith said.

That scrappy win against Brazil was a vital rebound game for the squad, but now they must remain mentally prepared to face a South Korean side which has already been outwardly confident that they are themselves prepared. And with an extra three days to recover and gameplan following their bye round on Wednesday, it’s easy to believe that South Korea will be at their best.

South Korean offensive lineman Seung Jun Oh in an interview Thursday was adamant that they are ready this time around.

“Mentally we’ve fixed our mistakes. We also studied Australia’s defense and offense, but more than that we’ve covered our mistakes because we made a lot of mistakes…We’ve worked on our own assignments.” Oh said.

“Australia is very fast, but if we do our assignments and our job and make no mistakes, it is possible to win. We had film and enough time to study it, but before we played them the first time we hadn’t seen anything. We are ready.”

The extent of how much they could reduce the final margin by alleviating mistakes remains to be seen, but there’ll need to be a drastic turnaround if this game is to be competitive.

Smith isn’t resting on the laurels of the opening round win however.

“We don’t care that we beat them at first. We’re all about looking ahead to the next game and not looking back to anything that’s happened before. We’re also aware that Korea have now seen film on us in which they hadn’t seen before, and we expect a much better, fired-up Korea team to come out and give us a real tight contest.” Smith said.

Linebacker and co-captain Brad Bennett was also wary of the challenge South Korea present.

“They come in rested. We just have to not be complacent and take the intensity that we took into the first game back into the fourth game.” Bennett said.

The biggest query then becomes if the Australians are looking to change their winning formula in light of South Korea’s new gameplanning.

“We’ve now seen Korea play two games on film; the adjustments to them will be minor. We’re definitely looking to take advantage of some of the things we’ve seen on film, but in the main it’s also about getting our things right and polishing what we do.” Smith said.

Written by Chris Guscott – @Chris_Guscott

by Chris Guscott Writer covering the national selection camps and 2015 World Championships in Canton, Ohio. Has covered/commentated the 2014 and 2016 Australian Gridiron League as well as reporting/commentating at Gridiron South Australia since 2013.