The University of Canberra Firebirds completed their undefeated season in the ACT’s gridiron competition after defeating the Central Spears 34 to 14 in Capital Bowl XXIV.
Having lost to the Spears in the previous two finals, including an agonising one point defeat in last year’s Capital Bowl, the UC Firebirds claimed their eighth championship in the club’s history and their first since 2011.
After not losing a game throughout the entire home and away season, the UC Firebirds were truly the team to beat all year.
Their defence is what set them apart from the rest of the competition, having conceded only 14 points throughout the eight game regular season.
However, the side’s attack was also potent, scoring a total of 158 points, the second most in the league.
What made this season even more impressive for the UC Firebirds was the significant list change that took place in the off-season.
Twenty members of the UC Firebirds 2015 squad were not part of this season’s campaign, meaning much of the team had never played together before.
UC Firebirds head coach, Nathan Long praised his side’s ability to gel and work together as a team so early on.
“The fact that we were able to bring new players in and get them contributing straight away is one of the main reasons we did so well this year,” he said.
The team inevitably reaped their rewards from the effort they put in on the training ground.
The UC Firebirds began game simulation training twice a week three months prior to the start of the season in mid-May, and before that also undertook an eight week strength and conditioning program.
Long praised the benefits that were made available to his side through their affiliation with UC.
“As a club, I feel we get a tremendous advantage from being able to use the facilities and expertise of the UC Sport personnel. We are able to get top-quality coaching and advice that aids performance, and doesn’t result in a financial burden on our players,” he said.
“If you are offering players the ability to develop themselves as athletes, two things happen: the guys you have get better, or you attract better athletes who want to be part of something good and improve themselves.”
After experiencing success this season, Long added that his side are focussed on getting better and want to create a dynasty over the next decade.
“As a coaching staff and committee, we are keen to set the UC Firebirds up for success over the next 10 years.”