The summer of 2014/2015 was one of change for Ryan Dienjes, and it reaped rewards.
Dienjes made the bold call to leave Surfers Paradise, the team that he captained last year, to head back home to Broadbeach.
From the moment Dienjes arrived back at H&A oval, he put in the hard yards, dropping 12kgs on the scales to get himself in tiptop shape for the start of the season, and it rolled on from there.
“I went to Europe for six weeks, so had to do a bit of extras when I came back, so lost about 12kgs when I got home,” Dienjes said.
“I thought my year was alright. I faded away a bit at the end of the year, but that was probably due to the massive pre-season I had. I felt really good coming into round 1, I just wish I could have stayed fit the whole year.”
That massive pre-season he had was the catalyst for his form throughout 2015, which saw him take out the Broadbeach Best and Fairest Award.
2015 saw Dienjes back to his damaging best off half-back.
He set up the Cats beautifully, being the plus one at the contest when needed, but also was able to win the one-on-one footy when the time came.
He puts his good form this year down to keeping things simple.
“I didn’t have the responsibilities that I had at Surfers. I wasn’t captain this year, I wasn’t in the leadership group, I just felt like I had a weight off my shoulders,” he said.
“I was back enjoying footy, hanging with my mates, having a kick, so I was definitely enjoying loving it a lot more.”
It was a while between drinks, but Dienjes felt right at home the moment he walked back through the doors at Broady.
“I felt at home straight away. There were a lot of boys I had played footy in juniors with, going back to Under 8’s, so it was really good to be back,” he said.
The Cats came from the clouds to make the QAFL finals by the skin of their teeth; something even Dienjes thought probably wasn’t going to happen.
“I thought our footy was going to be good enough, but sitting at 2-7 at the half way point, I didn’t think we would make it. When you’ve got a chance anything can happen I suppose,” he said.
That finals berth was only possible because of the team gelling as the year went on.
“We had about 12 or 13 fresh faces this year that had come from different clubs, so it definitely took us a bit to gel. As I said at the best and fairest night, it felt like it took us a while to click, but hopefully next year we click from round 1, and we are on early after a big pre-season,” he said.
“I think it’s about sticking together now. We’ve got the list to take the next step.”
It’s about to all kick off again for the Cats, who resume training in a couple of weeks, their first pre-season under the watchful eye of Brett Andrews.
“Everyone is definitely behind BA. He just took it back to basics when he took over, which was a good thing with considering how young we are,” he said.
And in what will be music to the Cats fans’ ears, it definitely won’t be his last in the blue and white.
“I’m home for good now, I’m not moving anymore.”
By Andrew Wiles