Rosa Wang has always felt like the underdog, now she is hoping to use that to her advantage for the Brisbane Breakers in the AUL grand final.
Wang was never the sporty one at school. She picked up her first Ultimate disc in Sydney as a way to make friends when she moved there for her studies.
While she was selected to play in Unigames campaigns during her studies, she was never the star of the side, nor the one to make representative teams.
That all began to change in 2018 when Wang competed at the 2018 World U24 Championships, winning bronze with the Australian Stingrays.
Her emerging talent didn’t go unnoticed by the Melbourne Flames and she was picked – in somewhat of a shock – to play for them in the maiden AUL season which the Flames won.
“I was always a bit of an underdog,” Wang said.
“Even when I was picked by the Flames, people were saying: “Who is this person? Why have they been picked?”
Balancing the pressure of expectation
While Wang may have been plucked from relative obscurity last year, her talents are now no shock to her AUL teammates and rivals.
She now finds herself in the position where she could be the only player in the league to have two back-to-back titles in the first two years of the competition running.
Nerves have set in and Wang knows that there is expectation on her to perform – especially with key players Dom Simpson, John McNaughton (both injury) and Brett Matzuka (work commitments) missing from the Breakers for the decider.
“Someone once told me, if people believe in you, that belief can help you achieve things that you didn’t know you could,” Wang said.
“At the same time, when that belief becomes expectation it can drag you down.”
“Finding the line is really hard to balance, but our friends do believe in us and believe in me – that I can do well.”
Playing as a champion team, not a team of champions is the key to success
While Sydney defeated Brisbane in their regular season match, they were made to work hard for it.
Brisbane strenghtened as the match wore on with the team adapting and tightening its resolve to gel and play for each other.
That is the key to stopping Sydney in the grand final, Wang said.
“We were relying on each other to pull through, to do the best for the team that we could,” Wang said of the Breakers improvement late in the previous match between the two teams.
“That trust in each other reall got us through.”
It is trust that allowed the Breakers to finish the season strongly with three straight wins to earn their place in the grand final.
“I am a bit worried with the roster changes that (the trust) won’t happen, but I think it will,” Wang said.
“Everyone’s trust is there that everyone can execute.
“This team is made up of people who are all team players.”