Tebbutt storms home to claim UQ B&F

There were a few ‘big threes’ in sport this year.

Hawthorn had Hodge, Lewis and Mitchell, the Cleveland Cavaliers had LeBron, Irving and Love and the Australian cricket team had Smith, Warner and Starc all playing out of their skins in the world cup.

UQ had their own big three this year, Brodie Tebbutt, George Hannaford, and Darren Pfeiffer, and it’s no surprise that they took the podium spots in the Red Lions’ Best and Fairest count.

The winner, Brodie Tebbutt, stormed home in the last three rounds to leapfrog both Hannaford and Pfeiffer and take the crown.

“I didn’t think I would poll as well as I did early to be honest. I knew I finished strong, but I thought that George (Hannaford) and Darren (Pfeiffer) would be further ahead and out of reach,” Tebbutt said.

Tebbutt flew under the radar a bit early on in the season, but that all changed half way through the year.

“I think the key to the year was the positional change. I started off at half-back, but in the middle of the year Darren moved me into the midfield and it had a big impact,” he said.

Tebbutt’s game was injected with life. He was at home, and the blokes around him benefited.

“A big thing for me is defensive pressure in the midfield. Being in and around the stoppages I find it very important that we hold the defensive pressure, get underneath the ruckman and try and explode out of the stoppages,” he said.

“Having Darren there, to learn off him, and to have George rolling through, I think we complimented each other in different ways, and turned out to be reasonably strong in the end.”

Speaking of threes, you could break UQ’s season up into thirds this year. The first two had its difficulties, but in patches, they proved they were on the right path, which all culminated in some big wins in the run home.

The results might not have been forthcoming early, but they stuck at it, and more importantly, stuck together.

“We are always going to put our head over the footy and always have a crack, it’s during the week where that takes a bit of a toll, so we rely on each other to make sure that we keep our heads up, keep on getting on the track and keep on improving, otherwise nothing will change,” Tebbutt said.

“It was a tough year, but having the boys there later in the year, having the same group play each week, we started to build some form. Hopefully we can keep the majority of the group and build on that next year.”

Some believe that football is 50 per cent skill, and 50 per cent mental. If that’s true, the Red Lions finish to the year is bound to have a big impact on the start of 2016.

It’s not just going to just happen for them though; Tebbutt said the work has to continue.

“Everyone needs to take a step up. We have got quite a young group around us, so hopefully they can take their game to the next level. If we get a couple of new players in, we can really build from there,” he said.

“A lot of the boys are already excited about next year, so hopefully that carries on.”

They might be without Pfeiffer in 2015, but if Tebbutt can lead the younger brigade again like he did this year, UQ will be sure to shake a few feathers.

By Andrew Wiles

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