James Falkenberg has been outstanding for the Bombers this season.
James Falkenberg has been outstanding for the Bombers this season. Alistair Brightman

Fire rages inside Falkenberg ahead of finals

THERE isn't a Bomber who doesn't want the club to go back-to-back this season, but James Falkenberg is more motivated than most.

For Falkenberg, having to watch on as the Hervey Bay Bombers battled to hold off a gallant Across The Waves in last year's AFL Wide Bay grand final was just as hard as losing one earlier in the day with the Bombers' reserves team.

It is that moment that fuelled the fire that has been burning inside the 24-year-old all season.

"As I watched the game (grand final) unfold, I just wanted to run out there and give them a hand," Falkenberg said.

"It was gut-wrenching.

"They came back in the last quarter and won and I was definitely happy for the boys, but I wanted to prove to them the next year I was here for the whole season."

The 183cm, 87kg winger and midfielder missed out on selection for the 2012 senior grand final, having only played four matches during the season.

He said working late shifts and weekends restricted him from playing and training as much as he hoped.

Since finding a new job in the off season, Falkenberg has been carving up in the midfield with his strong frame and combative nature making him a tough proposition for any opposition player.

His appearance in last weekend's 98-point triumph over Bay Power was his 11th match of the season and the sixth time he has made the Bombers' best players list.

His three-goal haul against the Power was also the first time he managed multiple goals in a game this season.

Enjoying one of his best seasons, Falkenberg said it was the respect of his coach Troy Ignatenko he had worked hard to earn.

"He gave me the fire and this year I'm trying to prove a point to him I'm here to play footy," he said.

"Since the start of the year I've trained hard and put in the hard yards and now I'm reaping the rewards."

Falkenberg, who grew up in Victoria and won an under-17 premiership with West Footscray, moved to Queensland and played with State League club Redlands in 2007 before coming to Hervey Bay.

With the finals looming, Falkenberg, a member of the 2009 Bombers premiership team, will be a key player in the club's push for another flag this season.

Falkenberg believed he still had a lot of improvement left in him.

"I'm trying to be more consistent and rounding off my game each week," he said.

"I believe I can go that one more gear.

"I have no doubt in my mind, with the boys I'm playing with at the moment, we will win the grand final.

"I will throw my body over the line every time and I know those other boys, the 18 on the oval and the rest on the bench, will do the same for me."

The Bombers face Brothers Bulldogs at N.E McLean Oval on Saturday (first bounce 2pm) before the finals get under way next week.

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